1) Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)


Title:   The Surplus Exchange’s Reuse Marketing and Education



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project is Surplus Exchanges’ continued response to the dilemma of how to keep

up with the increasing amounts of business equipment headed for the dumpster,

while minimizing collection and processing fees, and benefiting the community as

well.  As with all our environmental

programs, our goal is to decrease the amounts of solid waste headed for the

landfill while practicing “good business”. 

Our 1998 MARC project, The Business Equipment Reuse Project, has

successfully shown how our organization can “teach’ area businesses to

become “reusers” of their own equipment, resulting in the diversion of these

materials from the waste stream in a cost effective manner. 


project, like the 1998 Business Equipment Reuse Project, will continue to focus

on reduction through reuse marketing and education, and the teaching of specific

reuse strategies, but, will be much larger in scale and expand the targeted

audience to include all district governments, businesses and organizations.  




1.     Development

and distribution of Kansas City Metropolitan Area Reuse Guide. 

This         printed and on-line guide will include referrals to, and

descriptions of existing reuse programs, informing the user of sources for

specific types of product reuse; description of reuse strategies; calendar of

reuse workshops, and other general reuse information.


2.      Reuse awareness building, and

partnership development with municipal governments. 

I is our objective to further increase the awareness of reuse

within our community by partnering with municipal waste reduction decision

makers.  This component is based on

similar successful programs in Indiana, New York, and California, which

“teach”      municipalities

how they can add reuse components to their existing municipal, county, and solid

waste district programs.

Many local jurisdictions, are not aware of how they can increase

reuse as part of their comprehensive waste reduction efforts. 

As a result, they miss out on the many benefits reuse can offer,

including increased economic development and reduced waste disposal. Adding

reuse programs to every local and regional solid waste and recycling program

will greatly assist the state toward meeting its waste reduction goal, with the

added benefit of helping communities meet the needs of its low-income or

otherwise disadvantaged constituents.



to be included in this initial education and marketing phase to municipalities:



Benefits of increased community reuse;

          Strategies for

increasing reuse and through existing waste reduction programs;



Identifying existing reuse efforts and businesses within the community;



How to avoid “reinventing the wheel”.


3.         Reuse awareness

building with client oriented nonprofit and community organizations. 

As described earlier, for Surplus Exchange, reuse is more than just

keeping “stuff” out of the landfill. Reuse as a practice is also a means to

increase the material, educational and occupational wellbeing of our citizens by

taking useful products discarded by those who don’t want them and providing

them to those who do.  Surplus

Exchange has gained national attention for its local efforts of combining reuse

with community educational and occupational programs. 

Most notable are the Learn & Earn Computer Education Program, and the

Helping Hand of Goodwill Job Training Program.

Learn & Earn, in a 20 hour curriculum based course, teaches

youth who otherwise would not have access to a computer and training, how to

build a computer (using components from older computers) which upon completion

of the course, they get to keep. In just two years, over 250 youth participants

have successfully completed the Learn & Earn course. The Helping Hand of

Goodwill Job Training Program provides Goodwill consumers with on the job

training and assessment.  The

participants spend 10 to 40 hours on site at Surplus Exchange learning material

handling, office or technical skills. Over 400 Goodwill consumers have completed

the program.

Both of these programs clearly demonstrate how reuse

can keep obsolete equipment from entering the local waste stream, and provide

educational and occupational benefits to our community’s constituents . 

This project will allow us to expand, and provide these opportunities to

other nonprofit and community organizations. It is our intent to develop four

additional major educational and/or occupational programs with community



4.         Utilization

of existing partnerships, such as Bridging the Gap’s Environmental Excellence Program, EPA, and MARC, for the purpose of developing and marketing

reuse awareness, and creating reuse opportunities.


5.         As part of America

Recycles Day, Surplus Exchange will develop and promote 

Second Chance Week: a week of activities promoting reuse as a

means to reduce waste by finding second (third, fourth, fifth) lives for

materials and equipment.  The goal

of Second Change Week is to decrease the amounts of materials headed for the

landfill by increasing the amount of  all

used materials – such as clothing, furniture, appliances, computers and

building supplies – that are given a “second chance” through the

practice of reuse.

There are also many other goals of Second Chance Week, such as

increasing the number of useful donations to non-profits, charities and schools

as well as providing bargain hunters, thrift store shoppers, reusers and

recyclers more opportunities to purchase inexpensive reusable items. It is not

our intent to reinvent the wheel, we will model our Second Chance Week

after the very successful California and Indiana programs.