Skip to main content

In the Loop

9 emerging names to know in reuse

The Reusies Awards highlight 3 companies, 3 activists and 3 communities driving forward circular economies.

Reusable to-go containers from Takeout Takeout of Lansing, Michigan.

Reusable to-go containers from Takeout Takeout of Lansing, Michigan. Credit: Takeout Takeout

Building a circular economy requires an all-of-the-above approach that includes durability, design, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing, sharing, recycling and, of course, reuse. 

Upstream, a national nonprofit focused on reuse, announced its Reusies Awards winners May 23. It’s the second year that GreenBiz has partnered with Upstream to host the live awards within our Circularity conference. 

Upstream recognized three categories: food and beverage; consumer packaged goods; and fashion and apparel. Activists and community groups also receive Reusies. Across the U.S. and Canada, these organizations and individuals "are developing a better way than throw-away," according to Upstream.

Food and beverage    

  • The winner: Kadeya
  • The solution: This Chicago-based company’s patented beverage kiosk washes, sanitizes, inspects and refills water bottles.
  • What I like: Users and facilities managers can track progress with the user interface. Gamifying water delivery adds a dimension beyond the humble water fountain.
  • The runners-up: Buoy and Revino

Consumer packaged goods    

  • The winner: Cabinet Health
  • The solution: Cabinet Health seeks to eliminate single-use plastic in drug packaging. Its refillable system for over-the-counter medicines and supplements customizes reusable prescription bottles and supports the transition away from plastic-packaged medicines.
  • What I like: Most of the 194 billion plastic medicine bottles produced each year are landfilled. Cabinet’s reusable option ships pills in a home compostable pouch.
  • The runners-up: Good Filling and Green Gooding

Fashion and apparel    

  • The winner: Coblrshop
  • The solution: Coblrshop strives to make shoe and bag repair mainstream again. Send in your item, and a cobbler will repair it and mail it back. Coblrshop’s app also connects brands with cobblers to continue normalizing repair.
  • What I like: Favorite shoes can be hard to replace, and local cobblers are harder to come by. This service aims to make repairs more attainable and help rebuild the cobbler industry.
  • The runners-up: Pact Group and Rax

Activists and communities

The Reusies offered six additional awards. 

Activists of the year: 

  • Maria Gastelumendi, founder of the Rising Loafer Cafe in Lafayette, California, operationalizes reuse, partnering with Foodware To Go for takeout orders and using reusable foodware onsite.
  • Kendra Schneider of Lansing, Michigan, offers a reusable meal container system called Takeout Takeout. She has also saved 3,000 items from landfills in community pilot projects.
  • Alisa Shargorodsky serves as a Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network board member and directs the nonprofit Environmentally Conscious Habitat Organizations (ECHO) Systems network.

Communities of the year: 

  • Maryland Department of Aging helps people with illness or disability access free wheelchairs, walkers and other gear through the Maryland Durable Medical Equipment Re-Use project.
  • Plastic-Free MKE brings together Milwaukee residents, small business owners, agencies and nonprofits to reach a critical mass against the plastic crisis.
  • The Post-Landfill Action Network in Philadelphia supports college students to establish reusable to-go options for campus dining. Students learn about the waste crisis and navigate bureaucracy.

More on this topic