Repurposing Is the New Environmental . . . and Financial Conscience
By Brenton Crozier
I can’t say that I really even notice billboards anymore. Perhaps it’s because when I’m in a car now, I’m usually driving and giving my full attention to safety, what music is playing, interacting with my daughter and texting . . . I kid, I kid. But when I was young my family took numerous road trips and you simply had to keep yourself entertained. So billboards were welcome visuals, some better than others. They broke up the monotony of the highway and were even the catalyst for different games. Find a billboard with this, make as many words as you can out of the name on this billboard . . . wow, we were so easily entertained.
From here the question is, where do all the old billboards go to die? It seems that for the most part, your local landfill is the only billboard retirement home in existence. While there are far more digital billboards (oh the humanity!), when you think about all of the enormous billboards and posters that cover a city or stretch of highway that become obsolete within days, you realize that’s a significant amount of waste. That is, until clever, innovative people come along to give them renewed meaning.
There are actually two great examples of this, and the first is one that I just learned about. There is a company called ReMakes that creates placemats from reclaimed billboards and movie posters. Each set consists of four placemats that are all cut from the same billboard or poster, resulting in a one-of-a-kind product. And how great are placemats? These unheralded protectors of tables give us another reason to actually sit down together and eat, and I know this is crazy, at the table together. Anything that points us in that direction is a winner in my book. ReMakes operates within a niche, works under a particular ethos and makes a quality, unique product. It may seem small in the scheme of things, but what a fantastic convergence of business and environment. Who knows, maybe this will continue to catch on.
The other aforementioned business that doesn’t like to see any billboard go unused is Burro Bags. This Jacksonville-based business has actually been featured on State of the Re:Union before. Burro Bags uses repurposed highway billboards “satisfying the needs of both durability and affordability with the added benefit of being environmentally-conscious.” Some bags are created with military-grade Cordura. You’ll find messenger bags, hip bags, apparel and other items that have garnered the small business widespread adoration and an international customer base.
Both businesses show that various considerations can be met and can result in a successful formula. It’s not strictly an either/or proposition.
We Want to Know:
- Do you know of any businesses in your community that have created a successful model that offers high-quality, affordable and environmentally conscious products?
- What do you think of ReMakes and Burro Bags?
- Do you see other opportunities for businesses to repurpose something that would otherwise be discarded or demolished?
These thoughts were inspired by a GOOD article titled ”Re:Makes Old Billboards, Reborn.”
*Featured home page image by Colin from Wikimedia Commons.