ReuseCHI was a group project completed as part of Archeworks’ WA$TED MARKET Certificate Program in 2016. WA$TED MARKET challenged students to create markets for reused building materials in Chicagoland and beyond. My group focused on the retail environment as our project's intervention point. The result was ReuseCHI: a waste activism project that used guerrilla marketing and tactical urbanism to shift consumers' perceptions of reused materials’ value.
- Concept development
- Copywriting (web, product, presentation, script)
To better understand our retail audience, we interviewed home renovators and contractors, and conducted on-site research at retail stores. Analyzing product appearance and label design was an important part of our process. Our group also explored movement-building and activism efforts for inspiration.
We gathered free building materials, upcycled them, created product barcodes and packaging, and planted over 100 “remnant” objects into 7+ big box stores across the city.
Each “remnant” was tagged with a barcode encouraging customers to “Text to Take." Engaged customers then received a text response linking to a survey on the ReuseCHI website.
In addition to the survey, the ReuseCHI website offered upcycling instructions for building materials, information on local reuse outlets, and the ReuseCHI toolkit: downloadable instructions for repeating our process anywhere with anyone.
We hosted a public upcycling workshop using the ReuseCHI toolkit to gain feedback and insight for future iterations. Participants were encouraged to place their “remnant” products in stores to build the movement.
To prove that context informs consumers' perceived product value, we hosted “How much would you pay for this?” demonstrations of “remnant” items at offices and public events, gathering feedback from 150+ respondents. All survey responses were collected, engagement metrics evaluated, and project results shared with the Archeworks community.