Gathering Summary: Repurposing & Other Innovations, September 21, 2011

by Catherine Haug, September 29, 2011; updated Oct 7, 2011 to add upgraded video of slideshow

(clip art from

We were a small but enthusiastic audience for the Repurposing-2011 event, with good discussion. None of our presenters were able to come in  person, but eight different projects were represented in the slideshow.

Updated YouTube Video of Slideshow

You can view a NEW video version on You Tube (see video screen below) with upgraded slide quality and a new soundtrack!

[If the embedded video does not appear, you can view the video at  You Tube: Repurposing-2011]

[NOTE: this is a different link than provided earlier, as I have upgraded the video quality and added a soundtrack. The old link is no longer available.]

Repurposing Projects represented in the slideshow:

printable pdf version of the 55 slides is available at Repurposing 2011: Slideshow Slides. Or view the video on YouTube (new and improved quality with soundtrack) at You Tube: Repurposing-2011.


  • Community cider press
  • 3-wheel cargo bike
  • outdoor oven
  • Cobb & cordwood sauna shed
  • Wheat thresher
  • Foot-powered grain mill
  • Restored antique corn mill
  • Wire winder

In addition, a short introduction includes:

  • The 3-Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and
  • Reuse/repurpose vs recycle


[NOTE: I was so involved in pointing out aspects of the slides, that I forgot to make note of all items of discussion. If you recall something I forgot, remind me and I’ll update this summary.]

Many of us repurpose items without thinking that is what we are doing. We need something for a specific, immediate use; we find something that fits the bill; we implement it and then go on to something else.

Other examples of repurposing

  • Linda Christensen brought sample of clever ‘pinecone’ pins she makes by carving avocado pits.
  • When the old Ferndale Bridge was dismantled, Jeffrey Funk hauled off the old ironwork to made a tall lift for his blacksmith shop. Perhaps Edd can provide more detail about this, and get a photo?
  • Stephanie mentioned a drip system for a garden that won’t freeze; she will send info and I’ll add it here.

Dumpster diving ban

We also briefly discussed the Flathead County ban on dumpster diving. Some believed it was only banned at CFalls, but Cat pointed out the ban is county wide, but is only currently being monitored at CFalls.

Flathead Industries has people stationed at the CFalls site to cull reusable items, which helps them as well as saving perfectly good items from the landfill. However, they might not be able to recognize something that is not in ‘perfectly good’ condition, but still an excellent candidate for repurposing.

Many dumpster divers have not job, some have no home, and they depend on the few dollars they get by selling items from dumpsters. At this time of high unemployment, what are these folks to do when the dumpsters are no longer open to them?

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