ReUse-A-Palooza offers used bikes at low cost

The ReUse Program takes donations of office, classroom and lab furniture from University of Minnesota departments and resells it to individuals.

Self-described grease monkey Brent Fuqua uses parts from other cycles that have been abandoned or confiscated to put together a bike Tuesday in front of Northrop. Re-Cycle assembles these “Frankenstein” bikes and sells them to the public at a cheap price.

Self-described grease monkey Brent Fuqua uses parts from other cycles that have been abandoned or confiscated to put together a bike Tuesday in front of Northrop. Re-Cycle assembles these “Frankenstein” bikes and sells them to the public at a cheap price.

Molly Novak

 

Bikes and people crowded Northrop Plaza on Tuesday for the first-ever ReUse-A-Palooza.

The event was part of the University of Minnesota’s 15th annual Beautiful U Day, a campus cleanup event, which also included a building cleanout.

There were more than 100 bikes on the plaza for sale for $10, $35 or $50, said Brad Hoff, chief administrative officer for Facilities Management. Most were gone a couple of hours after the event began at 11 a.m.

University police donated abandoned and unclaimed bikes to the ReUse Program, located in the Southeast Como neighborhood. The gently used bikes could be purchased and then looked over and given a small, free tune-up by used-bike retailer Re-Cycle.com.

The goal of ReUse-A-Palooza was to increase awareness of the ReUse Program since it is “off the beaten path,” said Stacey White, ReUse Program manager.

In the 2011 fiscal year, the ReUse Program diverted 229 tons of items, including furniture and lab equipment, from going to landfills. The University projects the program will save 381 tons in 2012, saving the school $342,800.

Since the program began promoting itself, it has seen a 400 percent increase in tonnage reused, White said.

“This is 400 percent more tonnage diverted from landfills,” she said.

Beautiful U Day typically includes planting flowers and trees, but Hoff said “there’s not a lot of space available” to plant this year.

The ReUse Program sold about 75 percent of the bikes they brought to the Palooza. The rest will be going back to the warehouse to be sold, White said.

Gigi Stroncek wasn’t there for the bikes — she came riding on a Nice Ride bicycle — but was interested in what the program does.

“I’m a sustainability advocate and thought I’d check it out,” said Stroncek, a music education sophomore. “I think it’s cool there’s a lot of things able to be reused again.”

The program has been around since 1993 and collects more than just bikes. It takes office, classroom and laboratory furniture and equipment from University departments.

ReUse doesn’t take donations from individuals — only from University deparments — but sells items to anyone. It also requires the equipment to be in reuseable condition, unless it is in high demand and only needs minor repairs, White said.

Some of these other items, like couches and tables, littered the plaza under the white tents for customers to view.

ReUse-A-Palooza also featured an “It All Adds Up” campaign table. The campaign is a sustainability effort to conserve energy and water and to promote recycling.

The ReUse Program center will be one of the featured physical stops on the Great Reuse Race, a two-week-long scavenger hunt in the Twin Cities that brings participants through places, virtually and physically, where they can donate and purchase reused items.

The race started April 9 and will run through April 22 with a “finish line party” April 23, White said. Participants can register through the end of the scavenger hunt.