• Stretch Your Event Budget Using Repurposed Materials

    FROM THE Summer 2015 ISSUE

    Repurposing injects a healthy dose of artistic flair while sparing the bottom line.

There are traditional ways to approach events such as nonprofit gatherings or conferences, but there are unconventional ways, too. Sometimes though, finding a unique way to spice up your get-together can be expensive or just plain hard. But there is one way that’s not out of your reach: using repurposed materials to add an artistic flair to your venue.

Repurposing is the process of taking a product, and without changing it too much, using it for a completely different purpose. One example of this is using retired military cargo chutes as shade canopies for outdoor events. These 7,850-square-foot chutes can be turned into large-scale tents, awnings or domes for groups to gather under to avoid sunburns or just as a decoration.

Another repurposed material that could be utilized outside or inside is taking squares of wooden basketball courts and using them as temporary stages or flooring. These pieces can be rearranged any way to add an artistic flair to the event. Another product from a high school gym that can be repurposed is the bleacher wood. These can be fashioned into benches or flooring for any event.

Steel wire panels once used on the outside of large commercial air conditioners to keep birds, balls and other objects out are yet another unusual repurposable product. These can be used to section off areas in a room, create “pens” or serve as temporary fencing at an outdoor event.

Large IBC totes are large tanks that can hold hundreds of gallons of liquid. If you have a late-night event or are in need of a unique way to light up a space, you can repurpose these tanks by placing LED lights inside of them and turning them into jumbo luminaries.

One thing repurposing does, besides adding a little something extra to your event, is help the earth. These products, instead of being thrown into a landfill, can be used in a new way. One of the biggest generators of waste in America is rebranding, whether it’s small businesses or major airlines. But many of the products these businesses dispose of can be reused, such as their first-class napkins.

Repurposing is also much less expensive than buying brand new products. By saving money on these repurposed materials, you can have more funds to place into other aspects of the event.

So whether you’re looking to add an artistic flair to your venue or wanting to help the earth out a little with your decoration choices, repurposing is exactly what can help you accomplish that.

Damon Carson is the founder and president of REPURPOSEDMATERIALS with locations in Denver, Chicago and Atlanta. 

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