BMRA NEWS                  October 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".
Member Spotlight - Community Action of Allegan County (CAAC)

"As a new member I really look forward to being part of the BMRA, you folks are doing important work with the built and recycled environment and I am excited to learn more."  Christian M. Deuel, CAAC Program Development Coordinator
CAAC is member of the national Community Action network, our roots grow from the work of Sergeant Shriver, Lyndon Johnson, and the war on poverty. Our organization is located in Allegan County Michigan, a predominantly rural county of approximately 114,000 residents. Within the community our organization provides services such as Early Head Start, Head Start, Utility Assistance, Weatherization, Meals on Wheels, Senior Transportation, etc. . These services are available to income qualifying households within the geographic boarders of the County. As our County has an approximate 11% poverty level, and an additional 26% of households considered Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE) we tend to have many families in need and very often not enough services to cover those needs. This is especially true in the areas of living wage employment, workforce housing, and blight removal.
CAAC also developed the Dual Community Development Program (DCDP) , a venture that braids Home Builders Institute (HBI) Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate curriculum with hands on Project Based Learning (PBL) that is applied to the constructing affordable housing. We began implementation of the DCDP program in January of 2017, to date we have 18 graduates (7 from Allegan County), a class running currently of 7 students (2 from Allegan County) and are working through zoning to build our first housing unit, a prototype we call SIP1. We are also proud to report that since January of 2017 we have grown our programmatic stakeholder network from an original 6 to over 70 individuals and organizations supporting our efforts in the DCDP and the newest addition, D&D. This includes funders, employers, educators, local and state leaders etc.

During the implementation process of the DCDP we realized there is an opportunity to work on the challenges that Allegan County faces in the built environment. Namely blighted properties without resources available to address them. With this in mind CAAC submitted and won a Community Service Block Grant – Discretionary funding request to the State of Michigan to develop a Deconstruction program rooted in Domicology, inspired by the work being done at Michigan State University (MSU) . In our Domicology and Deconstruction (D&D) program, we seek to use the PACT as the foundation to build deconstruction training upon. Our goal is to utilize existing curriculum or create a deconstruction curriculum that can be braided with environmental trainings (asbestos, cadmium, lead awareness, EPA RRP, HUD Lead Worker) in efforts to create an advanced laborer that is valuable to rehab/remodel and demo/deconstruction contractors alike. The downstream effect of the training is similar to the affordable housing construction, we will use deconstruction students as a labor force to aid in the deconstruction activities required in blight removal for the county. The goal to train an advanced labor workforce, address blight in the community, and engage in the sale of deconstructed material in generation of Program Income (PI) to help sustain the program into the future.
"I became aware of the BMRA this past spring during a conference at MSU prompting my attendance of the recent expo. After attending the expo I saw the immediate value of joining your association in order  learn about the great work you folks are doing nationally/internationally and to leverage resources in the association that may help the CAAC programs be successful." Christian

Thanks Christian and CAA for sharing your work with us and for supporting decon and reuse through membership! BMRA

Basecamp  -  BMRA Network

Join us on Basecamp
Have you been looking for a way to share ideas with your fellow decon and reuse folks? Wanting to collaborate on a project with the BMRA? Looking for something other then Facebook to connect with folks on specific topics? 

The BMRA has almost 200 members, but our network is hundreds more, and related industries are even broader. We know that more and more architects, designers, city officials, and workforce development folks are looking our way. And we know that the more we talk to each other the stronger we are, and the more we can accomplish. 

So if you would like to join the conversation please follow this link and register 

"The problems teams deal with mostly boil down to stuff scattered in too many places — emails, chat threads, Word docs, etc. That makes things easy to miss and hard to find, which leads to communication gaps, preventable emergencies, and extra work.

Single purpose project management and chat apps can't fix this problem — they can only make it worse. Basecamp is different. It combines all the tools teams need in a single, straightforward package that makes work feel like less work."

Thanks everyone, talk to you soon!
Winner of the BMRA Reuse Award at ArtPrize
Jeff Best  

One of the great features of our Decon 18 conference this year was it coincided with ArtPrize, the worlds largest public art show. So the BMRA hosted a public vote on a new prize "The Reuse Award". 
Conference goers and the general public were able to vote on one of 80 preselected art pieces that included an element of reuse. 
Out of those 80 Jeff was elected. Below is the entry he won with. See also his story below about his work and his love of found materials. 

"I love to reclaim old materials and turn them into something fun to look at.  I've done it since I was a kid, hauling things home from the county dump.  Old chairs, rusted metal fenders, all other types of rusty fortunes that would make my mom's head shake.   

My love of barbed wire came to me about 25 years ago after buying a new home with 40 acres of woods.  The first time I walked the property I came across an old farm dump with several large rolls of discarded, rusty old barbed wire.  The moment I saw it I knew what I was going to do with it... build a deer head for the end of our driveway....and that's what I did.  

That started the ball rolling...and then a large sporting goods store asked me to make a full body bugling elk to place on their new store in Gaylord Michigan.  That was my first full body animal but certainly not my last.  

I now have full body barbed wire animals in several Western States including Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri and Illinois.  All because I walked up on a roll of old rusty barbed wire 25 years ago.  

I've been very fortunate to have placed in the finals at Art Prize each time I've entered it.  I have done well in other art juried shows throughout the Midwest and West too.  

Thanks Jeff for including reuse in your art work and for being a part of our adventure in Grand Rapids. 

(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!)

Buzz-saw: news in & around our industry...

REMADE Institute puts $140 million in funding toward developing the circular economy
This article in GreenBiz describes current efforts by REMADE Institute to develop circular manufacturing.  Grants are funded in five areas: 

  • Systems analysis and integration
  • Design for reuse/disassembly
  • Manufacturing material optimization
  • Remanufacturing and reuse
  • Recycling and recovery

JCHS Harvard study forecasts growth in home improvement in most metropolitan areas
Two recent articles from the Joint Center for Housing Studies predict growth in remodeling around the U.S.  The first indicates robust growth for the 4th quarter of 2018, while the second forecasts slowing growth in 2019 due in part to rising mortgage interest.

New Jersey passes strong plastic bag ban
Plastic grocery bags, styrofoam food containers and plastic straws are all banned in the new legislation, making it the most aggressive statewide policy in the nation. Read about it here.

Restrictions relaxed on asbestos in U.S. products
A recent article in Fast Company reports that the EPA will no longer consider "the effect or presence of substances in the air, ground or water" in establishing restrictions for use of toxic chemicals.  Asbestos is one of the materials that would be less restricted as a result.

Canadian e-recycling organization expands to U.S.
The Electronics Recycling Association, which has been collecting electronics for recycling in several Canadian cities for years, is starting the Electronics Reusing Association as a parallel organization in the U.S. Programs will be starting up soon in Seattle and San Jose. Learn more from the Waste Advantage article.

Ensia article looks broadly at deconstruction
This broad look at the state of deconstruction mentions a number of BMRA members.

Johnny Mercer house salvage contingent on funding
The Mercer house in Savannah Georgia needs to come down.  Emergent Structures hopes to save it.  Find out more.

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
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