This time of year I always feel a little sick to my stomach, and not just because of those midnight romps at the dessert buffet with the bottomless glass of Prosecco.
I suffer from that other brand of post-holiday consumption bloat. Even though I have cut waaaay back on gift buying, I feel icky as I fill my recycle bin with ransacked shipping and gift boxes.
The task makes me vow that I am going to buy even smarter, waste even less, and re-use more.
Only this year, I found inspiration from a company whose business it is to do exactly that.
Damon Carson, owner of RepurposedMaterials, in Denver, is the type of guy who drives down the road, sees a billboard, and thinks: That perfectly good billboard will one day be torn down, and all that useful billboard vinyl will get chucked in a landfill.
He sees that the UV-protected, industrial-strength, waterproof barrier could enjoy a new incarnation as a super-sized tarp; a pool or pond liner; a cover for a hay stack, wood pile or boat; protection for a baseball field; a Slip 'n' Slide.
Repurposing means using retired items in new ways.
“Like when you turn an old fire hose into a boat-dock bumper,” I say, as I surf his website www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com , riveted by reuse.
Before launching RepurposedMaterials in 2010, Carson owned a traditional trash pick-up company, which he sold.
Then, an off-hand remark from a painter working at Carson's home (“Hey, if you ever get an old billboard vinyl, they make great drop cloths.”) turned the entrepreneurial light on in Carson's cranium.
Sales in 2012 were double those of 2011. Clients include farmers, ranchers, landscapers and DIYers.
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