The team here at GreenBiz has not been shy about writing, speaking and even singing (only in the shower) the praises of reusable packaging. If society is to address the plastic waste crisis, it’ll take an all-of-the-above solution set with a big focus on reuse in the packaging space.
We’ve witnessed momentum build around reuse over the last several years in many packaging applications. This includes reusable cups at venues, reusable to-go containers, and let’s not forget the economic juggernaut that is the reusable water bottle. I could write an Atlantic Magazine-length piece on why the water bottle phenomenon has gone too far, but I’ll save it for another time.
Because reuse is such an important piece of our circular future, we are excited to partner with national nonprofit Upstream again in 2024 to bring The Reusies to Circularity 24 in Chicago. The Reusies are an award ceremony honoring the people, communities and organizations bringing reuse solutions for consumer packaging and products to the world at large.
"Now in its fourth year, The Reusies has grown to be more than just an awards show — it’s a platform to highlight solutions, an inspirational spark to encourage innovation and collaboration, and a resource to help the reuse movement grow," said Crystal Dreisbach, chief executive officer at Upstream.
Past winners have included game-changing innovators and folks working to make reuse the reality in their communities. Some highlights of winners and finalists from past Reusies include:
- Reuse Seattle: The 2023 winner of the "Building Reuse" award brings reusable food and beverage container solutions to the city’s businesses and residents. Its vision is for a convenient, connected, interoperable and standardized network of reuse systems throughout the city.
- Thrilling: The 2022 "Fashion & Apparel" award winner is a BIPOC-owned company with a mission to rewrite the secondhand shopping narrative, putting marginalized voices at the forefront. It helped digitize local, independent thrift stores across the U.S. and is providing additional sources of revenue for vintage store owners while also providing a second lease on life for clothing.
- Generation Conscious: The 2023 winner for innovation in "Consumer Packaged Goods" built a zero-waste, zero-water infrastructure to end hygiene insecurity while diverting tons of waste. Their plastic-free refill stations distribute accessible, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, biodegradable laundry detergent sheets.
- Jacqueline Omania: The 2022 finalist for the "Activist" award is a grade school teacher in California’s Berkeley Unified School District. Omania has been educating her students about reuse for many years and helped pass the groundbreaking Disposable Free Dining Ordinance in Berkeley.
If you know of someone working to make change through reuse, nominations for the 2024 Reusies are open through Feb. 29. Nominations are being accepted and awards will be given out for communities, activists and innovative reuse companies.