The Materials Salvage and Reuse Innovation Hub: Looking Back & Reflecting
By Nat Hooper, Project Coordinator, CERI
After nearly two years in operation, the Material Salvage and Reuse Innovation Hub (MSRI) -- a partnership between the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development -- has come to an end. For the Domicology team, this marks a bittersweet moment. On one hand, the team is proud to have accomplished a wide array of projects all aimed at advancing the art and science of building material salvage and reuse (more on those projects below); however, the team also remains acutely aware of the many barriers to growth still facing this sector of Michigan’s economy.
While remaining cognizant of the path ahead, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the numerous accomplishments and challenges overcome by the team, as well as to briefly share some of the most salient takeaways from the last two years.
First, project coordinator, Nat Hooper, would like to extend gratitude to the multitude of research assistants that have worked on the project. The efforts of each and every member of this team have been invaluable in fulfilling the obligations taken on in this project. By the end date, the team was able to deliver the full scope of work and even had time to complete a number of relevant side projects that were not stipulated in the original contract yet fell fully within the project goals. That is a feat in any context, but it is especially amazing considering that, due to the pandemic, the project team only had access to the office for roughly five of the 24-month duration. The rest of the time, the team functioned (without skipping a beat) in a fully virtual environment - with the majority of the team having never met each other in person nor having set foot (until the recent return to office efforts) in the office.
Over the 24-month project period, the team delivered on a very impressive set of deliverables. The final report—that details the full scope of work--is available in hard copy at the CCED office and will soon be available online at domology.msu.edu. Following is an abridged selection of the major accomplishments throughout the project:
Needs assessment analysis of the Michigan Material Salvage sector (first of its kind)
Weekly TA / Training network mass communication campaign, with over 3500 unique communications
Comprehensive case studies & focus group sector analysis
Student Led, Faculty Guided Projects (SLFG)
Pioneering research into CLT construction used salvaged lumber
In addition to the deliverables listed above, the project team was also proud to help generate two new project proposals, each focused on advancing the practices of Domicology in Michigan. The first proposal was completed with assistance from the MSRI team and was launched by American Classic Construction (ACC) to support the development of a full-scale Shingle Recycling initiative. This will build on the success of an earlier collaboration between ACC and MSRI which paved the way for a new (first in the state) recycled shingle product to be brought to market. The second was completed in partnership with ACC and The ReUse People of America (TRP) -- the leading deconstruction, material salvage, and training nonprofit organization in North America -- and will focus on creating a dedicated deconstruction and recovered building materials facility in Michigan.
As the team awaits notice on the aforementioned proposals, it is moving forward with its work to advance Circular Economy practices in a number of ways. For example, Dr. LaMore and the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) team are working on developing a network of faculty and students across the university to support increased collaboration in Circular Economy related projects. The CERI team is also working with multiple Domicology partners on exploring new projects to advance these practices across the state. If you are interested in learning more about upcoming projects or have an idea for a project of your own, please contact Nat Hooper at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the CERI page at ced.msu.edu to learn more about these funding opportunities.