ACR Road Trip: Reuse Centers Around Texas

ACR Road Trip: Reuse Centers Around Texas

 

Over Memorial Day weekend, staff and board members of Austin Creative Reuse got a big dose of inspiration. We visited two amazing nonprofits with conservation and reuse missions. We brought home fresh ideas we can implement here, a stronger network of reuse centers in Central Texas, and a new appreciation for our awesome team and everything that makes ACR.

 

We also brought home 800 lbs of graduation tassels…why? Read on….

 

 

 

 

 

“Fill a Classroom Not a Landfill”

Our first stop was the Welman Project in Ft Worth.  Welman was born back in 2008 when Vanessa Barker saw a massive load of “instant snow” heading for the landfill at her first job (New York fashion show producer) and diverted it to her second job (pre-school teacher). After moving back home to Texas, she and her childhood best friend Taylor Willis co-founded the Welman Project and have been on a mission to “fill a classroom, not a landfill” ever since. A true labor of love, Welman Project is fueled by dedicated volunteers who sort and re-distribute materials in a 1500 sq. foot warehouse year round – with no air conditioning!

Much like us, they spend lots of time sorting materials and coming up with creative uses.  Welman provides all materials to educators for FREE, and expenses like rent, utilities, staff, and donation pickup are funded primarily by grants and individual donations.

Just recently, they’ve been able to grow their staff to 4 people, allowing them to serve many more educators and significantly increase their programming.  Welman is *only* open to educators, who register with their credentials when they come to “shop” the free stuff.

 

 

We heard tons of great ideas from Vanessa and Taylor. They:

  • …have repurposed a school bus for material pick up and distribution
  • …create curriculum and supply materials for 45 after school programs
  • ….loan our party supplies, displays and event materials
  • …host a “tailgate” party attracts over 100 educators (with 300 more on the waiting list who can’t fit into the parking lot!). Teachers load up their cars with classroom materials while enjoying donated bbq and beer.
  • …received two 18-wheelers full of graduation gowns and tassels.  If you see bins full of tassels at ACR, now you know why!
  • …have been best friends since pre-school. Awwww <3 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re excited to implement some of these ideas, and inspired by their educator focus. We’ll keep brainstorming about how we can do more for teachers – while maintaining our mission to serve *everyone* who wants to creatively reuse.

 

Follow the Welman project on Instagram and Facebook. If you’re in the Ft. Worth area, support them by volunteering.

 

Pioneering Creative Reuse in Denton

SCRAP is one of the first Creative Reuse Centers in the US. Started in Portland (well, of course!), SCRAP now has centers in Humboldt, Ann Arbor, Richmond, Baltimore and Denton.  Scrap Denton works a lot like ACR:  they take donations from businesses and individuals, sort, package them, and offer them for sale in their center at a fraction of the cost new.  

 

We loved SCRAP’s appealing displays (and envied their bright, spacious center environment!). Programming was also a real inspiration here. They’ve got a lovely workshop space up front where they host:

  • Summer camps
  • Birthday parties
  • Workshops for adults and kids
  • Craft meet-ups
  • Gallery shows

We’re looking forward to increasing this type of programming when we have a in-center workshop space of our own.

 

If you visit Denton, you will feel right at home and find lots of great materials in a bright, spacious environment. SCRAP Denton, just like ACR, is powered by lots of volunteers who come in to bring the value back into these materials.   Check out what they’re doing on Facebook and Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reuse Collaboration  in Central Texas

We are so thoroughly impressed and inspired by both of these amazing organizations.  We hope to collaborate with both of them in the future -you never know when two semi-trucks full of creative reuse materials will show up at our doors, and it’s nice to know folks who can share the bounty :). We plan to keep the ideas flowing by hosting a quarterly call with our new friends, and hope they’ll visit us in Austin soon to meet more of you!

 

Thanks to all of our loyal customers and volunteers for your patience while we closed for this mini-road trip. It was so valuable for members of our team to spend time together away from the busy center. We came back with gratitude for everything that makes ACR so special, and renewed energy to keep growing conservation and reuse with our awesome community here.

 

Comments

  • Terry Lawson | Jun 6,2019

    Don’t forget childcare centers. The teachers often aren’t credentialed but are brilliant at making do.

  • Katie Cowden | Jun 23,2019

    You should also visit Texas Art Asylum in Houston!

    • Jen Mack | Aug 15,2019

      We should! Maybe that will be our next team building road trip!

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