First Great Reuse Race kicks off

The scavenger hunt focuses on the benefits of reusing.

First Great Reuse Race kicks off

Emily Mongan


The Great Reuse Race scavenger hunt will kick off its first running in the Twin Cities on Monday.

The race, hosted by Reuse Alliance Minnesota, is a two-week scavenger hunt in which participants follow clues to physical and virtual locations to compete for prizes. The race aims to bring attention to the economic, social and environmental benefits of reusing, like shopping at local thrift stores and salvage warehouses.

The physical stops of the race include thrift stores, salvage companies and the University of Minnesota’s own ReUse Program Warehouse.

The University’s ReUse Program collects unwanted furniture, office equipment and building materials from University departments and redistributes them back into campus or sells them at reduced prices to the public.

The program provides the University with an alternative to throwing away unwanted resources, saves the University hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and creates new jobs on campus. Stacey White, supervisor of the ReUse warehouse, said the program has created six student positions in the past year.

A national study in 2001 conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency found the reuse and remanufacturing industry created more than 169,000 jobs in the U.S.

The Great Reuse Race encourages racers and the general public to support the reuse industry through discounts on merchandise at participating stops through the duration of the challenge.

The University’s ReUse program is offering a 20 percent discount to shoppers on Thursdays during the race, when the warehouse is open to the public.

“Ultimately, we want people to know where they can shop in their backyard and where they can buy used rather than new,” White said.

Racer David Martinson said the race’s dedication to the reuse movement is what inspired him to register.

“I have this interest in kind of living life more sustainably and socially responsibly, and I figured it seemed like a cool thing to try out and learn about some new organizations,” Martinson said.

Recent University graduate and race participant Alyssa Tucker said she was drawn to it for its similarity to the TV show “The Amazing Race” and the wide range of prizes available for winners.

“I’m pretty thorough when it comes to this kind of stuff, so I’m planning on hitting up all of these places in the next two weeks,” Tucker said. “I’m really hoping that I win something, even just a gift card.”

Racers qualify for different categories of prizes depending on the number of stops they complete. At each stop, they’ll get a stamp proving they were there and a clue leading them to the next location.

Prizes include a refurbished iPad, tickets to the Guthrie Theater and an overnight hotel package at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Minneapolis.

The Great Reuse Race coincides with Beautiful U Day on April 17, when the University’s ReUse Program will host ReUse-A-Palooza on Northrop Plaza. Items from the program’s warehouse, as well as more than 100 used bicycles, will be available for purchase.

Reuse Alliance Minnesota reports that 150 racers are currently registered, but registration is open until the race ends April 22.

The Great Reuse Race concludes with a finish line party at Arc’s Value Village Thrift Store in St. Paul from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 22.