Creative Reuse Retail & Education
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Who we are:
Spartan Upcycle is the creative reuse retail and education branch of the Surplus Store and Recycling Center (SSRC) at Michigan State University. Spartan Upcycle seeks to encourage all of us to rethink traditional definitions of value and purpose, and ultimately discover a new use for items that were once thought of as waste.
What we do:
RETAIL: We create and sell upcycled goods by repurposing discarded items collected on MSU's campus. We also sell a variety of supplies for DIY and craft projects, plus unique ephemera. Shop with us in-person at the Spartan Upcycle nook of the MSU Surplus Store on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or online. Please note, our in-store offerings are different from our online inventory.
EDUCATION: Spartan Upcycle offers hands-on workshops, hosts events, and offers art-making opportunities in collaboration with campus partners such as the Broad Art Lab and University Activities Board. Materials and items used in these activities are sourced from SSRC’s campus recycling and Surplus operations, department partnerships, the public Recycling Drop-Off Center, and the MSU Community Reuse program.
COLLABORATION: We are happy to collaborate with a number of campus partners, including academic classes, student groups, units/centers. When possible, we also partner with community organizations and host workshops for small groups upon request. Learn more.
What you can find:
- View the online offerings from Spartan Upcycle. (Follow the Surplus Store Facebook page for updates about in-person shopping.)
- Items for sale include materials and supplies for use in various projects and upcycled/reclaimed goods that have been repaired, repurposed or otherwise had value added to them.
- The materials and supplies we sell may be used in various arts and crafts as well as home decorating or minor home improvement projects.
- While our inventory varies depending on what SSRC collects through our operations, Spartan Upcycle regularly stocks materials and supplies related to:
- collage, decoupage, assemblage
- scrapbooking, cardmaking
- sewing, knitting, fiber arts
- clothes mending and upcycling
- furniture repair and upcycling
- woodworking, metalsmithing
- zero waste living (jars, canisters, etc. for bulk shopping; fabric for making reusable alternatives to single-use products; repurposed and second-hand items, etc.)
Spartan Upcycle supports SSRC’s mission to manage waste as a resource through an integrated system of reuse, recycling, collaboration and education. We inspire and promote creativity, resource conservation and community engagement through art, education and imagination. Why? Because more creativity = less waste!
SSRC is responsible for collecting and managing discarded items from campus including recyclables, surplus goods, IT equipment, food waste and trash. We collect from academic, research, and residential buildings; athletic and event spaces; MSU farms and more. Each year we process between 20 and 25 million pounds of material, and on average we divert roughly half of all general building waste away from the landfill.
Spartan Upcycle came about a few years ago when it became apparent that SSRC was missing an opportunity to keep more "stuff" out of the landfill and in circulation. We knew that repurposing and reimaging was the way forward.