September Reuse & Rethink Winner: Debbie S

This month, we challenged you to make something using only items from our bucket section. The bucket section of ACR is teeming with endless possibilities to reimagine objects and supplies for your next project. We’re pleased to announce this month’s winner, Debbie S!

Debbie made a mini quilt using only small, upholstery fabric samples from the bucket section. We appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the piece, and the color palette matches the beautiful fall we’ve been having. Congrats, Debbie!

Toes for scale!

Thanks to everyone who participated – we love seeing your work!

Sustainability Spotlight: Break it Down


What is the mission of your company or organization?

At Break It Down, we envision a world where resources are valued, not wasted.


What environmental issues does your company address?

Break It Down focuses on sustainable waste management. We divert materials away from the landfill by providing recycling and composting services for our clients.

Composting is the process of decomposing organic material. Through the management of the nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich materials, you can produce nutrient-rich soil. This end product has many uses, and thus adds value to the organics, instead of just letting them pile up in a landfill. We also allocate pure veggie and fruit scraps to be used as nutritious animal feed by local farmers.  


What eco-friendly initiatives does your company or organization uphold?

We are working with Austin Resource Recovery to help Austin achieve our Zero Waste goal by 2040.

Did you know that by composting organic matter and diverting it from the landfill, we’re reducing the release of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times morepotent than carbon dioxide? Methane is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and is a very potent heat-trapping gas. Composting is one way our city can reduce our GHG emissions. 


How do you hope to make an impact on the Austin community or world at large?

We aim to find the highest-value end-use for the materials that we collect! Whether it’s diverting edible leftover food to feed animals or giving back to the earth through our full-service composting program, Break it Down is changing food waste diversion here in Austin.

We also recognize the value of community education. We provide our clients with immersive, bilingual trainings to share the importance of sustainability, and taking care of our planet amidst the climate crisis.

Where can we find out more about your company or organization?

Our website:

Or our socials: 

Facebook: @Letsbreakitdownatx

Instagram: @breakitdownatx

Twitter: @letsbreakitdown


September Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Miller


Jim Miller


While most ACR volunteers help to process the tons of donations we take in each month, some folks donate their other skills and talents to the organization. Long-time volunteer Jim Miller puts his tool belt to work – crafting DIY fixtures and working through the laundry list of things that are in need repair or improvement. Whether you know it or not, you’ve likely seen Jim’s handiwork throughout the center (be sure to thank him next time you see him!). We’re immensely appreciative of everything Jim does to help out ACR. His problem solving ability, can-do attitude, and sense of humor are unmatched! Thanks, Jim!


What motivates you to volunteer for ACR? 

Well, the ACR Board President, Carole LeClair, is my wife. My initial motivation to volunteer was a bit selfish – to keep Carole happy and thereby avoid sleeping on the couch. But seriously, I strongly believe in ACR’s mission. I enjoy working on the list of “Jim jobs” that Jen and Kat maintain.  I especially enjoy working on new DIY benches and display fixtures. 


How long have you been involved with ACR? 

About 7 years I suppose, but I have had much more time to volunteer since retiring about 1.5 years ago.


Where else have/do you volunteer? 

Just ACR on a consistent basis right now, but I am actively exploring new volunteer ideas.


What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering at ACR? 

Chatting with the nice folks in the center. Dumpster diving with my fearless wife. Working on the list of Jim jobs.


Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?

I was initially terrified of most of the ACR staff and volunteers, especially in the old center on a busy day there was nowhere to stand without interfering with someone. I felt like a long-tailed cat in a room of rocking chairs. Interestingly it was Vernon who showed me a guy could contribute. He is such a rock star at ACR I felt a bit jealous.


Here are just a few of things Jim has built for ACR:


Custom bucket fixture


Custom, rolling frame display


Custom plexiglass shield – thanks for keeping us safe!


Taking a break during the big move (with the flower display he mounted in the background!)

Announcing ACR’s New Executive Director, Jenn Evans!

Jenn Evans


Austin Creative Reuse is thrilled to announce the hiring of Jenn Evans as our Executive Director! 


A graduate of Duke University’s Environmental Science & Policy Program and the University of Chicago Law School, Jenn currently works as a contractor for ACR coordinating volunteer projects with the Junior League of Austin.  Her position was financed through a Community Project Grant from the Junior League of Austin.  


For the last four years, Jenn has been extensively involved in ACR as a volunteer and board member.  As a board member, Jenn led ACR’s sustainability initiatives, which focus on furthering ACR’s conservation mission by implementing our Sustainability Policy, supporting our zero waste goals and maintaining our status as a platinum-level Austin Green Business Leader.


Previously, Jenn had been the Deputy Director of Austin nonprofit Families in Nature and an environmental law associate at the global law firm Allen & Overy LLP.  She sits on Austin ISD’s Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee and is active in the Cities Connecting Children to Nature Initiative from the National League of Cities.  She also founded Nature Playdate, a nature community for Austin families, and is active in several other local environmental and community groups. 


Jenn spent much of her childhood traveling up and down the east coast from Canada to Florida in the back of her parents’ baby blue 1970s Econoline camper van.  While it might have been frowned upon by today’s standards (there were no seats in the back of that van, let alone seat belts!), her fond memories of days on the beach, hikes in the woods and nights spent around the campfire started her down a path toward environmental stewardship that she now hopes to instill in her own children and share with her community.


“I am delighted for the opportunity to take on this new role with ACR,” says Evans.  “The support of our community has always been tremendous, and no less during the challenges of the last five months.  With the re-opening of our new center in Windsor Park, ACR is poised to create a vibrant community space where all members of our community can come together to explore, conserve and create.”

We are excited to have Jenn join our staff.  While this has been a trying time for all businesses and especially nonprofits, having a solid leadership team will help us ensure our success.  


“ACR is in an opportunistic time and we need an amazing leadership team to steer the ship through these waters,” says ACR’s Center Manager, Jen Mack.  “I look forward to working more closely with Jenn on planning future programming, activating the center and getting the word out about ACR in new and innovative ways.”


When she’s not out promoting the beauty of creative reuse, Jenn can be found chasing around her three wild kids and working on their old camper van with her husband, Kelly.  She digs travel, the ocean, cool mountain breezes and admiring the creativity of all the folks who pass through the doors at ACR.


Please feel free to contact Jenn with any questions or notes of congratulations!


FY2020 Annual Report

If we could sum up FY2020 in one word, it would be: GROWTH. So many incredible things took place, including the big move! Here are just a few highlights of all we were able to accomplish with the support of our community:

  • We opened our new Creative Reuse Center in the Windsor Park neighborhood of Austin in March 2020. The new space is over 11,000 square feet, 7 times the size of our original center, and offers new ways to explore, conserve and create with ACR.
  • Volunteers donated nearly 10,000 hours of their time to sort donations, help out at events, and of course – move us into our new space!
  • 262,000 pounds of donated materials were diverted from the landfill
  • We had a 97% diversion rate – that means 97% of materials that came into the doors of our center either found new homes through our shoppers, or through our partner organizations.
  • Our Closed Loop School Supply Program was piloted with two elementary schools
  • ACR was named a platinum-level Austin Green Business Leader

Read the full report below:


Customer Spotlight: Andrea “Andy” Alfaro

Andrea “Andy” Alfaro @wholeconcept


How did you find out about ACR?

When you guys were smaller, I think through my roommate at the time who is also an artist. I shopped with you guys off and on, but when you guys opened this location, you became way more accessible for me, so I’ve been here 3 times in the last two weeks.


Why do you shop at ACR?

It’s sustainable, it’s variety, it’s affordable, and it’s interesting and inspiring. I’ll see something and think oh I can do this, rather than just have a baseline. You know, what can I do next?


What do you use the items you purchase for?

Today I’m buying frames because I have an art show on Saturday and I’m framing my art. I got some stuff for making masks in the materials section, some paper for collaging and drawing and I really like the vintage section – I’ve gotten some great gifts there.


What’s the craziest or most unique item that you’ve found at ACR?

A vintage little glass box with these delicate crumbling flowers with a little bird’s nest where I put a baby bird skull that I found.


What’s your favorite part about shopping at ACR?

It feels explorative, and I like the no-waste component. I don’t have to buy a whole bunch of materials at once because there’s this space that has an ongoing supply of items.



See more about Andy’s upcoming art show at

Anthropomorphic: Andrea Alfaro + Chris Martino

September 19th to October 3rd, 2020

Select a private viewing appointment on either September 19th or October 3rd. Each 30-minute appointment slot can accommodate up to 6 people who will be viewing the exhibit from 2 different windows outside of the gallery, providing ample space to each other and wearing masks to respect everyone’s safety. If you would like to set up a different viewing time, contact



Call for Art! Contribute to ACR’s Fall Fundraiser!

Austin Creative Reuse is seeking art, apparel, and home goods from artists, crafters, makers, and designers made from mostly reuse materials for the soft launch of our online gallery and fall fundraiser!
The fundraiser runs for three weeks and will feature creatives who select a sliding scale commission split to benefit ACR. Fill out the form to submit a work! Selected items will appear in the online event running October 23- Nov 15th.
***Very Important Final Step***
Please email up to three quality images of each piece (180 DPI or higher) to Calder Kamin at The call closes October 10. Selected artists will be contacted by October 17th.

Make a Catnip Bat

It’s less than 60 days til Halloween! Let the spooky crafts begin!! For this catnip bat toy, you can play with all kinds of fabric scraps, but it is best to use something durable for the body. Or, maybe you like catnip exploded all over your house! Have fun making all kinds of bats, and hand them out like candy to all of your cat friends. If you need any of the supplies, swing by ACR! We always have plenty of felt, thread, and Halloween inspiration! 

Make a Wrist Pincushion

How many different things can you make with a fabric sample book? So many! Last week, we made a homemade banner. This week, let’s make a wrist pincushion! You could make a ton of these with just one book, and your hand stitching skills don’t need to be at all fancy. Fabric sample books are 50 cents each at ACR, and we even stock them in our online store

August Reuse and Rethink Winner: Mimi A

This month, we challenged you to rethink the versatile slide carousel. We’re pleased to announce our winner, Mimi A! We were very impressed by Mimi’s ability to think outside the carousel and make it into something completely reimagined and new to us. 

Using a variety of reused and repurposed materials, Mimi created a lighthouse with a working light. “My family really likes this piece of art. My husband is creating a space for it to be seen permanently and my daughter-in-law said this is her favorite piece that I’ve created.”

With light off

With light on

Materials Included:

  • old lazy susan (base)
  • rocks from the yard and ACR
  • white rocks from Dollar Tree
  • glitter snow (from ACR for the path to the light house and just a few specs in the water)
  • Paint medium from Dollar tree
  • Mika powders (from old craft kits used for the water)
  • paint (from ACR)
  • paper scraps (from ACR used for the windows and railing)
  • slide show carousel (gallery – what the sailor is standing in/on)
  • inner piece of 2 slide show carousels (the piece connected to the gallery)
  • old foam paint brush (door)
  • paper cup for lantern
  • old tea light from a pumpkin decoration
  • old plant pots
  • boat, oars, and mermaid (from old craft kits)
  • lego sailor


Thank you to everyone else for your ideas and submissions! As always, your creativity inspires us!

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Tel: (512) 375-3041