Still standing.

Did you know that more than 40 percent of Missoula’s housing stock was built before 1960? Well, now you do thanks to some data crunching by Nick Underwood, seriously smart fellow & Home ReSource volunteer.

It shows us how Missoula has grown over the years. But what else could it reveal? Maybe something about the materials that make Missoula? How much of those pre-1960 materials were sourced locally? It’s hard to know. But we do know one thing: reuse keeps materials local no matter their origin.

Flock together.

It happens every year. Montana native birds like the nuthatch, the chickadee, and the wren begin nesting right around now. To help our winged friends build their community each spring, we make native bird houses (assembled for $15 and DIY kits for $10) from reclaimed cedar. Every time one of you puts one up, a native bird family finds a home. Read this birdhouse primer from Montana Wildlife Gardener.

It’s not unlike what we do every day here at Home ReSource. Providing affordable materials for you and your family to complete home improvement projects helps build our community, too.

We’re happy to be here for birds of many feathers.

Zero Waste Super Bowl.

If US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis can do it, so can you.That’s right, Super Bowl LII will be a zero waste event. And after the big game, the stadium will be set-up with permanent zero waste infrastructure ensuring that every game after that will also be zero waste.

If you’re planning a Super Bowl party at home, how about making it a Zero Waste Super Bowl Party? Not sure how? Here’s some tips and here’s some more tips.

No matter who you’re rooting for, the Vikings have the win on waste!

The wheels of reuse.

A few weeks back we closed our doors for one day to do our biannual Inventory Day. Not only did we take this sweet group photo, and lunch on delicious Iraqi cuisine courtesy of the Matti family, we also learned a thing or two.

We learned that, based on what was in the store that day, we turned over our inventory more than three times last year. Is that a lot? We don’t know. We’re pretty new to this whole inventory thing. I sure felt like a lot.

We learned that we have more than three tons of nails and bolts in our hardware department, nearly 2,000 gallons of latex in our paint department and, well, a heck of a lot of doors.

And we were reminded that each of us has our own reasons for keeping the wheels of reuse spinning and that we have a lot of fun when we come together to do it. Whatever your reasons may be, thanks for doing your part to keep ’em spinning.

Lost and Found: Speaking of inventory, occasionally we get items that we’d call “accidental donations.” Such a donation came to us recently in a safe. If you are the donor, call us and describe what you’ve lost so we can make sure you get your accidental donation back.

Giving for good.

Did you know we donate thousands of dollars worth of building materials to the community every year? Schools, nonprofits, churches, and community events who participate in our Materials Giving Program receive free or discounted materials like the tile used to make the Bear Mountain Playground mosaic in Stevensville. Giving back is one way we celebrate reuse and build community. What’s in it for us? We feel good knowing we helped make something good happen for our fellow Montanans in the name of reuse.

This week, the current cohort of UM Wilderness and Civilization students sculpted solutions to pressing problems at the intersection of (so called) Wilderness and Civilization using materials donated by Home ReSource. Check out their exhibit DREAM SOLUTIONS at the UM Fine Arts Building Second Floor Gallery opening on Tuesday January 23 at 5 p.m.

Stinso-dent Report.

Tomorrow we bid farewell to one of our warriors of reuse, Nick Stinson, who has been slicing and dicing waste with us for coming on two years. He’s moving on to pursue another noble cause as a firefighter at Miles City Fire and Rescue. As you can see by the picture, Nick – and his mustache – is primed for his next mission. We miss you already, Nick. Be safe out there.

You know who else we miss? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that’s who. Doesn’t matter that we never actually knew the man. We know what he stood for and what he fought for and that, in our estimation, demonstrated the most noble of noble actions. Many don’t know that he was assassinated while attempting to organize sanitation workers who collected trash in Memphis. In our own humble way, we are honoring your work and sacrifices, Dr. King, by working to build a vibrant, sustainable, and just community through our operations, programs, and business practices. Happy MLK Day, friends.

Lastly, check out the new Sustainable Missoula column in the Missoula Current! The first edition was co-written by Katie Deuel, our director, and Amy Cilimburg, director of Climate Smart Missoula.

Feed people, not the landfill.

Katie Anderson, our Zero Waste Educator & Planner, is picking up where The Fate of the Plate left off. Focused on finding some “early wins” for the MCPS Zero Waste effort, Katie spoke with Kelli Hess from the Missoula Food Bank and Mason Dow of Feeding the 406 about how to ensure food feeds people, not the landfill through food rescue in the schools. Read more on her post.

Besides helping with MCPS Zero Waste planning, Katie is also gearing up to teach ZWAP! starting next month. We are seeking photographs of the following projects completed using materials from Home ReSource for our ZWAP! Scavenger Hunt: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, tree house, & chicken coop. Please submit photos to If your photo is selected, you will receive a $20 store coupon!

PS – The food pictured here required no rescue. The Mati Family provided this splendid Iranian lunch spread for our bi-annual Inventory Day this week. Thanks Ann & Afran!

Feeding People, Not the Landfill

Katie Anderson, Montana Energy Corps service member, Zero Waste Educator & Planner at Home ReSource

By Katie Anderson.

Last October, I began serving a Montana Energy Corps term at Home ReSource as a Zero Waste Educator & Planner. This year, under the leadership of Superintendent Mark Thane, Home ReSource and the Missoula County Public Schools are partnering to create a district-wide Zero Waste Plan. While much of the nitty-gritty planning is yet to come, I have begun identifying local opportunities to reduce school food waste and keep leftovers out of the landfill.

The Missoula Food Bank collects unsellable foods from grocery stores and similar businesses to donate to its clients. Its Food Circle Program goes one step further. Volunteers collect prepared, perishable food items from commercial establishments and bring them to the food bank. They then repackage the items into frozen single-portion meals and make them available to food bank clients. In 2016, Food Bank volunteers rescued over 48,000 pounds of food! Kelli Hess, the food bank’s Programs and Operations Director, is excited to get a second delivery truck this winter. The food rescue programs are nearly at capacity with one truck—perhaps the local schools could meet the capacity of a second!

The importance of food waste reduction is not lost on students in the community. UM students Mason Dow and Willem Morris began taking action last year. Their program, Feeding the 406, rescues cafeteria food from Big Sky and Sentinel high schools and donates it to the Poverello Center. The food items are provided as a supplement to the center’s regular meals. Last year, the two students collected over 1,000 pounds of food! Though Willem was not on campus this past fall when we spoke, Mason continues the food pickups. He hopes to make the program self-sustaining in the years ahead with the support of high school students. In the meantime, Feeding the 406 will continue reducing high schools’ food waste one lunchtime pickup at a time!

As we at Home ReSource enter into the early stages of planning with MCPS for a Zero Waste school district, our efforts will be well-served to focus on reducing wasted food from kitchens and cafeterias by rescuing what we can and composting the rest. No one objects to “easy wins” with big payoffs, and donating excess prepared school food to people in need appears to be just that.

Home ReSource Top Ten of 2017

Thanks for another great year of reuse, Missoula.

Here’s our top ten highlights from 2017…

900 tons
Deconstructing the Merc
ZERO by FIFTY: Missoula’s Pathway to Zero Waste
Best Green Business
Work Programs hired!
Emerging Zero Waste Businesses
MCPS partnership
Climate Smarty Pants Awards
SponCon & the Auction: Amazing thanks to you!

We worked with you to put more than 900 tons of building materials back to work in the community! And by officially expanding into the West Yard this summer, we’ve increased our capacity to help Missoula reuse more building materials than ever.

We safely and successfully deconstructed the Missoula Mercantile and helped spread the proverbial ashes of the downtown icon by making 200,000 board feet of old growth ponderosa pine, stamped ceiling tin, and other unique, historic materials available to the local community through sale and donation. Read the Missoulian article.

We helped launch ZERO by FIFTY: Missoula’s Pathway to Zero Waste. Together with the City of Missoula, we hosted community listening sessions, visited model Zero Waste communities, and drafted Missoula’s Zero Waste plan. That work set the stage for Logjam Presents to launch its Going Green Initiative earlier this month, which aims to vastly reduce the waste stream of three of Missoula’s top concert venues and other businesses are gearing up to reduce their waste as well!

We were voted Best Green Business for a 3rd year in a row in the 2017 Missoula Independent Reader’s Poll. And voted finalist for Best Hardware Store three times running, too. Read the write-up in the Indy.

We hired two former Work Programs participants onto our staff. Rhiannon was a Youth Intern. Genero was a Youth Apprentice. Those experiences helped them build skills and confidence. Now they are both fully-fledged Reuse Specialists.

We helped two new Zero Waste businesses emerge. After a ten-year incubation, our deconstruction crew no longer needed a nonprofit home and set out on its own as Montana Deconstruction Services. After a year of service on ZERO by FIFTY with the City of Missoula, former Energy Corps Service member Sean Doty saw an entrepreneurial opportunity and launched Missoula Compost Collection LLC and is now a partner in Logjam’s Going Green Initiative.

We upgraded the lighting throughout our store to LEDs marking one small step toward our giant leap into the build-out of our site, which will be guided at every turn by our commitment to reuse and conserving energy.

We developed a partnership with Missoula County Public Schools. With our multi-year effort culminating in the ZERO by FIFTY Zero Waste plan wrapping up, we set our sights on the next big target: MCPS. Under the leadership of Superintendent Mark Thane, more fifth graders will get ZWAP!ed through our Zero Waste Ambassadors Program and we will facilitate the development of a Zero Waste plan for the entire school district all of which will be supported by the incredible Katie Anderson, our shared Energy Corps service member.

We received two Climate Smarty Pants Awards for our community sustainability efforts. Steve Nelson along with MMW Architects received a “Master in the (Fine) Art of Community Building” for overseeing construction of the collaborative Summer Smart shade structure project in which reuse featured prominently. Jeremy Drake won a “Catalyst of Change” award for catalyzing Missoula’s move toward Zero Waste by offering a framework to unify community waste reduction efforts (Zero Waste) and by providing the expertise to make it happen. Read more.

And you helped make our events the best ones to date. SponCon teams continue to raise the bar on vision and execution and our community of support has increased our funds raised at our annual Banquet & Benefit Auction 269 percent over the last 3 years. And due to the support of our generous sponsors, every penny we raised this year went to support our Community Sustainability Programs. (Photos by volunteer extraordinaire Jonathan Qualben.)

Thanks again, Missoula. You made all this possible.

Smarty Pants.

Our friends at Climate Smart Missoula, under the unwavering leadership of Amy Cilimburg, recently celebrated two years of building a climate smart community and the community showed up to help.

We were honored to be the recipients of two 2017 Climate Smarty Pants Awards – and accompanying “smarty pants” – for our community sustainability efforts.

Steve Nelson along with MMW Architects received a “Master in the (Fine) Art of Community Building” for overseeing construction of the collaborative Summer Smart Shade Shelter project in which reuse featured prominently. Steve’s “smarty pants” were a well-worn set of Carhartt overalls.

Jeremy Drake won a “Catalyst of Change” award for catalyzing Missoula’s move toward Zero Waste by offering a framework to unify community waste reduction efforts (Zero Waste) and by providing the expertise to make it happen. Jeremy – dubbed Tsar of Zero Waste by Chase Jones – received a secondhand pair of doctor’s scrubs.

We are grateful for the opportunity to do this work in our community with so many amazing, committed, hard-working folks and we are excited for what’s to come.

(Apologies to all pictured for the photoshop job.)

We will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.