Reclaiming "MECCA: The Floor That Made Milwaukee Famous" on ESPN's "30 for 30"

Over the past 6 years, it has been fun working with designers, contractors and owners at PlanetReuse. Making connections that would otherwise not occur by providing tools and technologies through our network to keep materials out of the landfill is what we do. We work with reclaimed gym flooring, bleachers, lockers, seating, etc. from sports facilities throughout North America. We also work with less glamorous materials like reclaimed turkey barns, warehouses, carpet tile, dated office space materials, cubicles, old brick, and many more ordinary materials.

Learning the story behind the materials is part of the fun, like hearing what happened in structures coming down — what was originally manufactured in old structures, who ate at the restaurant, and in this case, what famous, world-renowned artist painted amazing work on it. So when we had the opportunity to connect a buyer and a seller on a significant project like the Milwaukee Buck’s MECCA floor, we get pretty excited. We worked with Andrew Gorzalski, the eventual buyer of the floor, to confirm through many panel shots and requests that this was the actual floor that was for sale. We worked to draw boxes on a floor image to go along with the actual panel paint colors (see the attached photos). It was a perfect match. 

Robert Indiana is an amazing artist and he created a beautiful floor for Milwaukee back in the 50’s. It mesmerized all players and coaches that played in MECCA. Many projects and materials can be parted out to various buyers who all “want a piece” of a certain material, but this was ideal to keep as one masterpiece. 

We’d love to see shows on all of the building material reuse projects we work on, to help spread awareness to the 80% of people that don’t even know the reuse industry exists. When director Chris James Thompson, who was working on a piece for ESPN’s "30 for 30” series, approached us, we jumped at the opportunity to tell the story.

On June 11th, look for PlanetReuse on ESPN’s award-winning “30 for 30” documentary series that will tell the story of the MECCA Floor. Our marketplace and social media connections helped connect the buyer and seller. 

Here’s a great article about the MECCA floor and film by Doug Russell with 620WTMJ NewsRadio.

Enjoy MECCA! 

Material listing on PlanetReuse website
Photo used to confirm exact match of original floor (see red boxes on overall gym floor image)
Another photo used to confirm exact match of original floor 


Looking for Reuse Materials for Your Project?

PlanetReuse's network allows those that want to incorporate reuse materials on their project to rely on a central set of tools.  Simply fill out our Material Request form to tell us what type of materials you're looking for and we'll connect you to options locally or nationally, based off your timeline and project goals.  LEED and LBC projects will benefit from our extensive database of materials and partners to meet your projects certification standards.


Donations Fuel the Reuse Economy

In our last newsletter we featured our FREE national reclaimed material donation coordination forms.  Material donations are a foundational component of the reuse economy and through our network of non-profit and for profit reuse centers, we make it easy on all parties.  Regardless of the size of your project, commercial or residential, material donations are easy to request and painless to coordinate thanks to our experienced partners, like Habitat for Humanity International.

Material donations can save you money on dumpster and landfill fees, while offering an extended lifespan and re-commerce opportunities for the materials that would have otherwise just gone to waste.

Do you have materials that could be donated or just want to learn more?  Click here to see how easy it really is.

Material Donations Made Easy


Wood You Decorate With Reclaimed Wood?

Quick quiz: using reclaimed wood in your DIY projects and home renovations is a good idea because:

A) It's good for your wallet
B) It's good for the environment
C) It looks super hip
D) It's one of the top 10 trends for 2014
E) All of the above

Answer: E. Duh. Using reclaimed wood saves materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill, often at a fraction of the cost of their brand new counterparts. History and charm oozes out of projects that reuse, repurpose and upcycle wood, adding warmth and character to your home. Create a statement wall with pallets or multi-colored beams for a punch of personality.  

Ready to hop on the reclaimed wood train? Choo Choo! Scroll through the projects below, wrangle up some materials (check out what's available on PlanetReuse Marketplace) and then get DIYing. 

Want even more amazing upcycles, follow us on Pinterest!

Reclaimed wood becomes a dreamy headboard.
How gorgeous is this bookcase, built with reused materials?

These perfectly fantastic coasters start with found wood!
Use pallets to create the most perfect garden walkway.
Need a desk? Upcycle one from a pallet.
Rustic coffee tables are all the rage. Make one from reclaimed wood.
Repurpose wood into a sign that's good enough to EAT off of.

This stunning Anthropologie knockoff starts with a repurposed 2x4.
Multi-colored, reclaimed wood makes a wall that is vibrant and welcoming!
Shine a little light with these DIY wooden wall sconces. Brilliant!
Write on! Make a beautiful desk out of recycled furniture parts.
You'll be "hook"ed on this industrial coat rack. We are.


The ReSpace Competition Is Back & We Are Ridiculously Excited.

 We are so excited to announce that we've partnered with The ReSpace Competition! Back for its second year, this amazing program focuses on sustainability, asking applicants to design an indoor/outdoor space for Hope House. ReSpace submissions must incorporate reused materials into the design and will allow Hope House to grow their program and further their community-based impacts.  

As if that wasn't reason enough to celebrate this event, all proceeds raised go to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Wake County, NorthCarolina

The winner of the 2012 contest was titled "Light Wall" and was a stunning art piece made from reclaimed wood and materials, which used repurposed glass to create stunning light displays. 

The ReSpace competition is open to anyone. Designs from diverse locations, age groups and disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged. Think you have what it takes to be the next ReSpace champion? Prove it! Check out all the application details here. Submissions are due February 20th. 

"Design must be thoughtful, deliberate, and inspired at all scales, from the smallest building details to the organization of entire cities. The quality of design is especially important as the scale of the space approaches the scale of its inhabitants—the relationship of light, mass, texture, and warmth to the human experience is immediate and intimate. The use of salvaged or reclaimed materials adds another layer to this experience—a connection to the past and the cycles of time. " - Paul J. Lipchak, AIA, AICP 


Head of the Class:PlanetReuse teaches Notre Dame Students about Sustainability

Recently, PlanetReuse was given the chance to partner with students at Notre Dame throughout the Social Entrepreneurship Class. After the semester was over, we caught up with the group to see what they had learned from PlanetReuse as a case study, their thoughts on sustainable business and what was next for this group of bright young kids

PR: So why did you want to partner with PlanetReuse?

ND: PlanetReuse appeared to be a company that truly encompasses the meaning the of social entrepreneurship. The company’s products and services are way interesting way of addressing the problem of wasted construction materials. 

PR: Do you hope to go into social enterprise after graduation? How do you think social enterprises will change the landscape of business in the future (if you do)?

ND: One of the team members on the project is currently working a project utilizing business to empower low caste women in India. Social enterprises are the forefront of the next evolution of business. Customers will eventually require all businesses to have a social benefit. In the future, businesses will have to find innovative ways to offer socially beneficial products and services.

PR: What are your thoughts on spreading the mission of social enterprises? How might an organization best use its time and resources to reach your demographic? (Social media, traditional marketing, etc.)

ND: Spreading the mission of social enterprises will be absolutely integral to making larger impacts in the future...The internet is the future of marketing, so obviously utilizing various social media platforms will be very important in establishing positive relationships, and creating internet content that goes “viral” will help to capture attention and increase awareness about a social mission.

Thanks again to Notre Dame for allowing us to partner with such an impressive group of students. It's experiences like this, and people like these, with boundless passion, innovativeness and ingenuity, that make us excited to see what the future has in store for all of us. 

Go Fighting Irish! 


KC Star: Nathan weighs in on Net Neutrality

PlanetReuse is a web-focused company, using the internet to connect buyers and sellers of reclaimed building materials and bridging the digital divide to make reuse as easy as possible. As net neutrality becomes an issue, the speed at which users can connect to websites may evolve into a larger discussion.

Our own Nathan Benjamin was interviewed recently by the KC Star about the importance of internet to his business. Check out Nathan's thoughts on the subject below, or read the entire piece here.


Inspiration Index: Windows

Have you ever heard somebody say, "you make a better door than a window"? (so rude, we know.) Well, these windows make better tables, mirrors, garden sheds and shelves. Repurposing these paned glass beauties is great for your wallet and even better for the environment! 

Read on for a wild walk through the wonderful world of windows. Then put your project pants on, hike up your tool belt and break out a little elbow grease. Make sure your watch is on, because it's time to get DIYing. 

For even more ideas, follow us on Pinterest for a plethora of perfectly pleasant projects.  

Use a window as the perfect canvas for your artistic creation!


Inspiration Index: Let there be light (fixtures)

We've all seen them: sad, dusty, slightly dingy light fixtures. Often missing parts, covered in a thin layer of grime, these once brilliant luminaries seem lackluster and limp. Should we just toss them? Pass them by at our local reuse center or thrift shop? Sigh and think of their former glory days with nostalgia?

Of course not! A quick cleaning, some slight modifications and POW, these light fixtures are good as new (better, some might say!). SHAZAM, a chandelier is repurposed into an earthy planter. WHAM, a pendant light is upcycled into a hip terrarium. ZONKS, a ceiling light is transformed into a tranquil bird feeder. Holy reuse, batman! 

Follow PlanetReuse Marketplace's board Bright ideas for upcycled lighting on Pinterest.


Out With The Old and In With the Old!

Happy 2014! As we start another year, we resolve to be more responsible, more mindful, more aware. We aim to make our impact on the earth a little less negative and the impact on our community a little more positive.  

Sounds serious, huh? Well, it doesn't have to be! We can do little things that have far reaching, happy consequences for our wallet, the planet and our style.  Read on, fellow reusers, for our list of ideas to make this our best year yet! 

2014 resolutions:

Bring your own bags. Not just to the grocery store but anywhere that you might be needing to stash your stuff. 

Before you buy new, think reuse. Could you find that item second hand? Or use reclaimed or reused materials to make it? We live in a "purchase, use, toss" society, where our tastes change with the season. Let the landfill breathe a little easier by avoiding those big box stores. Plus, the feeling one gets from making something with their own hands is priceless.

When throwing away, look closely at what you're tossing. Could that mason jar be a new pinterest-worthy project? Is there a nonprofit organization that would love those old clothes? How about a reuse center that would gladly take your gently used furniture or appliances?

Give your old stuff a second life by donating it to someone in need. 

Rehabbing? Think Reclaimed.  
Reclaimed building materials not only cut down on the cost of a rehab job, they add to the charm and history of your home. 

Tell your family's story through salvaged barn wood, repurposed brick or upcycled windows. Reclaimed materials can add a look that's vintage, rustic or cozy, and will make your house a place you'll truly call home. 


'Tis the Season for Reuse!

Christmas is nine days away...officially right around the corner. If you're like us, and the holiday season snuck up on you a bit this year, you may be searching for some really great last minute #DIYs. We've rounded up a bunch of projects that will get you in the holiday mood. Most importantly, they all reuse, repurpose or upcycle items in the process...something that's sure to get you on the "nice" list.

Warning: if you're a grinch, this post may cause your heart to grow three times in size.

Yardstick Reindeer. Noel book decoration. Upcycled feather wreath.

Hollowed out log candleholders. Rustic box decoration.
A window and holiday greens. Cake tins silvery centerpiece.

A repurposed pallet tree. Use book pages to makeover ornaments.
Cabinet door stocking sign. Wine bottle Christmas tree. Pumpkin seed trees.
We knew we'd win him over. 


Celebrating the Re-sourceful Brian Alferman

Sometimes your coworkers win really important awards for their outstanding environmental work and you just have to tell the world about it.

PlanetReuse's very own Brian Alferman was recognized by MARC during it's annual Solid Waste Management Awards Ceremony.  The highly regarded Mr. Alferman - whose commitment to social change organizations is only slightly better known than his pingpong skills - was honored as the 2013 Individual Supporter. The accolade is presented to someone who has made "exceptional contributions and commitment to the district’s waste reduction and recycling efforts." 

We couldn't be prouder to have you as a colleague. Here are a few pictures of the man of the hour. 

Brian giving a speech after accepting his award. 

The award, made out of recycled glass, of course. 

All of this year's Solid Waste Management Award winners.

Brian modeling his newly won award at the office.