RE Definitions and Quotes About Reuse, Waste and More

Talking the Talk


RE Definitions

The English language is a mix of many languages. It is also great fun to twist and contort for your own purposes. Here are some terms and phrases that spring from the rebounding values of reuse, recycling and waste reduction.

Waste stream:

The flow of waste material from source to disposal.


Using low-value or ordinary objects to make something extraordinary like creative designs and art pieces in our Recycled Art Program

Cradle to Cradle®

“A model of industrial systems in which material flows cyclically in appropriate, continuous biological or technical nutrient cycles. All waste materials are productively re-incorporated into new production and use phases, i.e. ‘waste equals food.'” ~ Dr. Michael Braungart


Any item that is found or obtained for free.


Green demolition practices that focus on salvaging up to 50 percent of a building for reuse, another 48-49 percent for recycling, and only 1 percent ending up in the land fill or incinerator.
Read case studies, view photo galleries or learn more about The RE Store’s
Green Demolition “Deconstruction” Program.

Closed loop:

 A cycle of materials that stays within the cycle. Example: waste or byproducts of one process or product is used in making another product. This is also known as a “cradle-to-cradle” process.

Adaptive re-use:

The method of preservation where a building retains its signature visual elements, but the structure is used for a purpose other than originally intended

Life cycle costing:

An evaluation technique which determines the total cost of acquisition, operation, maintenance, and disposal of items being created.

Product take-back:

A form of extended producer responsibility that requires companies to take back their products after the consumer is ready to replace them or throw them away. This practice is very common in European countries.

Green building certification programs:
L.E.E.D., Built Green, Living Building Challenge, Low Impact Development, etc.

Point-based certification programs that rate commercial, residential and government buildings practices and standards on energy efficiency, waste reduction, water run-off, use of natural light, etc. These certification programs place high priority on environmentally sustainable building methods and materials use.

In addition, there are certification systems for individual products as well that include F.S.C., Energy Star and others. Be wary of “green sounding” labels and badges when purchasing green products – seek expert advice from independent organizations when pursuing green-certified products or building practices.


Who said what – quotes about trash and reuse

“Trash is the failure of imagination”
~ Aaron Kramer, trash-based artist

“Junk has a soul.”
~ Thor Myhre, scrap metal sculptor in Bellingham

“Measure twice cut once. Once cut, use twice.” (or more…)
(alternate) “Measure twice cut once. Cut once, use twice.”
~ Jeff Masson ~ The RE Store Facility Manager in Bellingham
© 2009

“Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills. One man gathers what another man spills.”
~ Jerry Garcia

“I regard this novel as a work without redeeming social value, unless it can be recycled as a cardboard box.”
~ Ellen Goodman, author

“Reuse, don’t refuse!”
~ The RE Store

“Humans are really great at two things: moving things around and giving them meaning.”
~ Guy Lively

“What is the difference between art and trash and how fine is that line? It depends on how it affects you. If you want to make it go “away,” maybe it requires a second look.”
~ Jason Edwards

“The problem is the solution.”
~ Unknown

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