BMRA NEWS                  July 2018

 - news from the BMRA on the deconstruction and reuse industry - 
Building Material Reuse Association - "working to create a vibrant building materials economy as part of a world without waste".

Reasons to attendDecon 18.
  1. There is nowhere else in North America where you will run into so many amazing folks that are dedicated to deconstruction and building materials reuse. 
  2. We are a fun bunch.
  3. Our speakers are a collection of some of the most experienced reusers in the country, some with over 20 years experience in decon and reuse.
  4. We also have a lot of exciting new blood that is presenting terrific research and are bringing some great new ideas into our field.
  5. Our sessions are specifically designed this year to bring together the latest thinking on how decon and reuse interplays with architecture and design, local ordinance building, code language improvements, sustainable materials management, and embodied energy measurements.
  6. We are also looking at how to better integrate our industry more closely with workforce development programs and social ventures to bring more folks into our industry and provide jobs.
  7. There's really good beer in Grand Rapids. 
  8. What you learn at this conference will help you run your business/organization, going back to point 1, you will learn from the best business and community leaders in our field. 
  9. ArtPrize - a free, open to the public, art event that now attracts over 500,000 visitors, making it the most attended public art event in the world in 2014 and 2015, is happening while we are there. 
No matter how long you have been doing this, or how new you are to our industry, there is a lot we can and should learn from each other. So come and be a part of it all. 

And one more reason... from our closing Keynote Dan Phillips

"It is unlikely that we will be building a St. Louis Arch from recycled materials anytime soon.   But utilizing the colossal waste in the building industry needs to have at least cameo visibility in this century. So, the next best thing is to sharpen our sensibilities, identify the incredible technologies at our fingertips that can help us, and dig our heels in on small-scale projects.  Our current model for the built environment is decidedly left-brain—quantifiable, predictable, homogenous, and conspicuously geometric. Contractors are not allowed to trust their instincts but the designer/builder has the freedom to make serendipitous decisions, trust deeper sensibilities, and gleefully add whimsy wherever he chooses. The reuse builder can honor human preference."

Come hear from Dan about being a “reuse builder” and learn to gleefully add reuse to your projects!

BMRA Industry Survey

"We know a lot; and what we don't know astounds me..." unknown
  • How many deconstructors are there in the US?
  • How many reuse orgs and businesses are there?
  • How much material are we all diverting?
  • What is the economic impact our our work?
  • How many folks do we employ? 
  • and how many of those folks come to our industry through workforce employment opportunities? 

If you are also wondering then help us provide some answers! 
Take the survey

A few things you should know about it:
  • it won't take long
  • the data we ask for are in ranges [so you don't need to dig for hard numbers]
  • its completely anonymous [even to us]
  • we will share the info with all!

Thanks for helping our industry get to know itself!   And please, repost and pass this on to whoever you can.
the crew at Community Forklift affirming that all are welcome in our industry. Thanks CF.

Joe Connell confirmed to ongoing BMRA Executive Director position 

by Mike Gable

Greetings BMRA members and supporters!
It is my great privilege to share the news that the BMRA Board of Director has offered Joe Connell the position of Executive Director!  It is an exciting time for the organization as we make a full time commitment to support Joe. He demonstrated his leadership skills and commitment to the BMRA’s mission during his interim director period and we ask you to continue your support for his efforts to grow the organization’s membership and influence. A leader’s success is dependent on the passion and support we all bring to their work.. which is all about the work we do every day to create a world without waste!
Your first step in supporting Joe in his new position and the work of the BMRA is to sign up for our conference. Signing up as a BMRA member is even better!!!



The BMRA is looking for a few more Board Members

Dear Members – As the old saying goes “many hands make light work”. So we are looking to add three positions to our Board of Directors. As an org with so little staff we are extremely dependent on the board to work with our ED and assist with committees, work groups, and oversight. Building our team will help us spread the workload out more and provide us with some key skill sets that would be helpful to add.
“The first time I joined a Board of Directors changed my life” says our present ED Joe Connell, “I was used to working with building plans and materials and wood. I had no idea how to be a part of a visionary team that created the plan, and that had people as part of the vision. That experience taught me a lot about myself and helped me develop the skills that I have put to work in non profits for the last 20 years. As I joined other Boards I found it a wonderful way to give back, and keep exploring my leadership skills. If you are interested in non profit management on any level serving on a board is invaluable.”
Board needs folks with experience in:
  • Financial planning and accounting
  • Legal and non-profit structures
  • Capital campaign and major fundraising
  • Social media campaigns
  • Board governance
Click here for Board Director Job Description
Click here to apply 
Thanks and please pass on to anyone you think may be interested.

From our Director 

by Joe Connell

As you just read above I have been offered and accepted the ongoing position of Executive Director of our organization. Its been quite a ride for the last 8 months as Interim Director and I have learned a lot about our organization and our industry. And I am thrilled to be moving forward as the orgs first full time ED. A few weeks ago I was looking at our printed brochures with my family and my wife noticed in one of the photos that I was in the shot. It was from my first BMRA conference back in New Haven. Little did I know... but truthfully I remember thinking all the way back then that this was an amazing org with incredible potential, and that it would be great fun to lead it. So there you go. 

Much of what I have done over the last 8 months is to learn, organize, restructure and transition a lot of our systems to set them up better for the next steps and for a permanent ED. Now we start the adventure together. I can't wait. I truly believe we can build this organization in both members and influence as Mike says above. 

Our two big projects right now of course are the Decon 18 conference and our survey. Our conference is themed Reclaim, Redesign, Reimagine as a way to point us into the future. Our survey is about looking at our present. In many ways we need to know where we stand now, so we can chart our path ahead. We need to know how many of us there are for example so that we can build our membership more intentionally, we need to know our overall impact so we can all attract more support, and we need to know what our potential is. 

So as members and supporters we need your help with both of these. If you can't come to the conference we get it, but help us promote it. Tell your network about it. Send a staff person. And if you agree that having info about our industry is important then take our survey and pass it on to anyone and everyone you know in our field. It all helps build our industry and as they say in Maine when the tide rises all ships rise. 

Thank you all for the great work you do out there. And for the opportunity to play with you.

(By the way, we'd love to include YOUR voice in future issues of this BMRA newsletter.  Let us know if you have ideas for topics, or if you'd like to contribute an article!)

Member Spotlight

by Carolyn Murren - Reuse Hawai'i

In Honolulu, 450 demolition projects are completed per year. The island of Oahu alone creates 1.8 million tons of waste annually, 35% of which comes from the construction and demolition of buildings. This 600,000 tons of material generated by the construction and demolition industry is the single largest source of waste on the island.
Re-use Hawai‘i is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to reduce waste through building material reuse and recycling in the state of Hawaii. The mission is to reduce waste through alternatives to demolition and from public donations of building materials, and to redistribute these materials to the community as an affordable resource.

Re-use Hawai‘i was founded in October 2006 with the intention of increasing the environmental sustainability of our island and planet through the simple practice of reuse. Re-use Hawaiʻi i conducts both deconstruction throughout the state and redistribution from its base of operations, near downtown Honolulu.

The organization has grown tremendously over the past 10 years, beginning with only seven employees, it now employees 45 staff members. The work being done by Re-use Hawaiʻi creates green jobs, provides affordable resources, and reduces the need to import new material.


Buzz-saw: news in [or around] our industry...

How do you measure your materials?
Opinions vary widely on the best tactic to record a program’s diversion progress. An expert recommends returning to the basics with a relatively simple calculation that shows areas for improvement.
"Data expert ranks recycling metrics," by Colin Staub at Resource Recycling.

What about lead in building demolitions? A podcast
This Radio Public podcast visits Detroit to explore the continuing danger of lead in buildings being taken down.  Listen here.

China drafts regs to ban import of "solid waste"
Colin Staub in Resource Recycling gives a heads up that China may stop importing recyclables altogether in the near future.  Policies implemented earlier this year raised quality requirements for imported recyclables, but the new regulations could ban import of all recyclables.  U.S. recycling markets were already dealing with the earlier restrictions, so we watch the new developments with great interest.  Read more.

Colleges get creative for reuse of dorm leftovers
Environmental News Bits points us to a Boston Globe article which find students and colleges recovering end-of-year dorm leftovers for reuse, and often getting them back in the hands of students.  Read more.

European Union set to adopt circular economy regulations
New regulations will require EU nations to step up their recycling and product stewardship.  See article at here.

Contamination in recycling is a big challenge
In the article "The recycling game is rigged against you," author Faye Flam talks about how the recycling system itself creates a likelihood of contamination, then argues that this system will need to change in order to make recycling of materials more effective.  See the article

Got recycled paint?
Latex paint recycling is taking off around the country as states wrestle with how to manage paint waste and recycling options improve.  Learn more here at this article from waste360.
Send us a link, photo, or article about what you find that's relevant to our industry to You can also join our LinkedIn BMRA Group and post items there. 
Become a BMRA member!
Please remember, we depend on you to keep us going. Membership is the foundation of our organization; we can’t do what we do without our members financial support. Please renew or join today and help us to keep building a vibrant building materials reuse economy.
BMRA News is published monthly, typically in the first half of the month.  Submission deadline for articles and member notes is the 25th of the month preceding publication.  Submissions and commentary should be addressed to editor Dirk Wassink at
Copyright © 2017 Building Materials Reuse Association, All rights reserved.

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PO Box 28 Great Cranberry Isle Maine 04625

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