'Repurposed Materials' finds new uses for old products

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Some people say we are a "throw away" society, but there is a company about 50 miles south of Chicago that is all about new purposes for old products.

In Manteno, Illinois, just off I-57, Repurposed Materials is giving new meaning to the phrase "one man's junk is another man's treasure."

"Repurposed Materials is a company that buys byproducts that would normally be industry waste and from there we resell it to people to give it a second life and to repurpose it," said Patrick McGreal, Repurposed Materials.

They have warehouses in Manteno, Denver and Atlanta. All three are stockpiled with the castoffs of industrial life. It's all a jumble of meaningless products, but the stuff does sell and that's because of the creativity of the shoppers.

"This is an Army surplus parachute," McGreal said. "It's about 100 feet in diameter and the person who usually buys this would be a bride for her upcoming wedding as a canopy for shade against the sun."

A mountain of Styrofoam that will probably end up as flotation devices or insulation and the remains of long-gone bowling allies are big sellers.

"What we have here is an eight-foot bowling alley lane," said McGreal. "It's repurpose is for kitchen counter tops and also desk tops."

It's really a guessing game when you come in. What will the new owners do with old thrown away stuff? For example, old brushes from street sweepers.

"These are sold to farmers," McGreal said. "We just sold 30 to a farmer in Iowa and his repurpose for these would be for his cattle and his horses as back scratchers."

Fire hoses are very popular and end up mostly as protective bumpers on boats and piers. And giant plastic containers for any type of liquid that can hold up to 250 gallons.

"We have a woman who purchased one just for rainwater to wash her hair," said McGreal.

If you stop buy Repurposed Materials, remember to bring you checkbook and your imagination.

For more information: http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/
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