The definition of reuse is as simple as the concept: the action of using something again. But this simple act can have such a profound effect on us all, as well as our planet.
Hi! My name is Alex Eaves and I live a “reuse life.” Ever since I was a little kid, reusing has been a part of my life; from turning toilet paper rolls into matchbox car tunnels to using old refrigerators for skateboarding obstacles. But what really sparked my passion for reuse was the mass production of new “stuff” that I saw during my years of selling merchandise for bands around the world. And when I saw a lot of the unsold items being destroyed without ever having been used once, that was the real catalyst to lead a reuse life.
If I wanted to create widespread change though, I knew that I had to do something beyond just incorporating reuse into my own life. I needed to educate and offer ideas and solutions to encourage people to take their own small steps. So, in 2008, I took my first step and converted my apparel brand, STAY VOCAL, into a strictly reuse apparel brand. Instead of printing on new garments, we rescue T-Shirts and give them a second life. Just a few months after the conversion, I won a best small business idea award for SV and we’ve been finalists for Green America business awards in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
As a result of running a business that reuses every step of the way, reusing has become a way of life for me. From how I shop to how I dress to how I give gifts, reusing is always at the forefront. And what I've learned is that reuse is the ultimate win-win-win: the benefits are for people, planet, AND your wallet. Plus, it can be pretty fun! For example, whenever you buy a STAY VOCAL T-Shirt, you’re not just getting a cool T-Shirt featuring a unique design at a great price. You’re also helping save 400 gallons of water; the amount it takes to grow the cotton for 1 T-Shirt! So, just by putting that shirt on, you’re creating instant positive change for the planet. And it doesn’t just stop there. I’ve heard from customers time and time again at how amazing the SV reuse shirts are as conversation starters.
The benefits of reusing instead of buying new or recycling are significant and many of us see them; we just need more people to see them. And if there's one thing I've learned over the years of doing events around the country for STAY VOCAL, it's that getting out, talking to people and sharing reuse ideas is the most effective tactic. That’s what this project is all about.
After being a finalist for Green America's People & Planet Award this past February, I decided that I would hit the road for a second nationwide tour to share how STAY VOCAL is reusing. (In 2010, I did the STAY VOCAL "ReUse & Schmooze" Tour with singer/songwriter Dandelion Snow). In addition to showcasing STAY VOCAL, I would seek out other people who are reusing in unique ways, as this country is full of people with great ideas about reusing. But after working with a team to plan my tour, it became obvious that these ideas needed to be shared on a larger scale. Thus, the idea for a documentary was born.
The documentary will be a compilation of a nationwide tour with stops in all 48 contiguous states. In each state, I'll visit with people and organizations who are reusing in original ways. By documenting this experience, I'll not only broaden the awareness and benefits of reuse in everyday life, but also provide a unique edutainment experience by seeing how people all over the country are reusing in different ways; many of which we could easily incorporate into our own lives, many of which help save money, and many of which are fun!
Besides the final production, I will be constantly updating my blog, facebook, and twitter during the tour; sort of a “daily reporting from the field.” I'll also be featuring tips on how you can save money and resources while traveling, simply by reusing more.
THE TIME FRAME
- Leave by late May/early June
- Travel for 60-90 days.
- Scheduled film release will be Earth Day 2014
- Cameras (pre-owned of course)
- Film Production
- Reward production & fulfillment
THE POSSIBLE IDEAS IF I EXCEED MY FUNDING GOAL
- Film Release Parties
- Film screenings on a follow up tour across the country
- Extra footage/second film
- More rewards
- More STAY VOCAL ReUse merchandise made for the tour
STAY VOCAL's event booth is a perfect example of reusing whenever possible. In addition to the shirts for sale, the tent was bought used, the signs were cut from cardboard boxes, and the banners were printed on the back of discarded misprinted banners. As those choices cut costs way down, this is truly a win-win-win for people, planet, and wallet.
Risks and challenges
My challenges are quite typical: trying to compress great footage and info into a standard length film and running past the deadline.
In the case of info overload, I'm not opposed to releasing a second part, especially if I have well exceeded my funding goal.
If it looks like I won't be finishing the project on time, all backers would of course be notified ahead of time with a new release date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Alex, about that "Cotton Recognition Level" reward. Why would anyone want a T-Shirt with their name on it?
Sorry for that confusion. It's not a T-Shirt with just their name on it. All of the names of the people who choose that reward will be incorporated into a limited edition STAY VOCAL T-Shirt design. Those names could be shaped into something, put on a wall, etc... We shall see what the artist comes up with!
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