Name: Dave Russell
Role: Factory Operations Lead (or Director of Operations)
Why Do You Work at The Renewal Workshop?
I work at the Renewal Workshop, in part, because I like to eat and pay the mortgage on time, but mostly because it fills a need to do something meaningful. I don’t see work as something separate from life - so I desire a job that I like and will make a difference for this planet.
I’ve spent most of my career in factories making stuff – windsurfing sails, yacht sails, watersports gear. This has made me acutely aware of the amount of consumption and waste involved in manufacturing things. A large part of the cost of “making” is not captured in the price we pay at the store. Things like water and air getting polluted, waste getting dumped improperly, wildlife being displaced, human costs of unregulated offshore operations – all things that harm the planet and are unsustainable.
It is very clear to me that “business as usual” is not going to cut it for this planet in the long run. Eventually, we will pollute everything and run out of raw stock. At some point, we have to change and start reusing our old stuff as feedstock for making new stuff. Just like nature has done for millions of years.
Joining the Renewal Workshop, I’ve had an amazing opportunity to do things differently. Our team has built an entire factory focused on trying to solve some of these big problems apparel manufacturers face. A key part of our challenge is to make the new circular use/reuse method more profitable than the old “make-use-toss” model. Habits get changed when the new way is cheaper - and we end up saving the planet!
The best part about The Renewal Workshop is that we are “doing” and not just “talking”. We’ve made it our mission to demonstrate that the circular economy works and lead by example.
Personal RENEWED Favorite:
Prana and The North Face... Oops, that’s two.
It’s easy to look good in awesome “do anything” Prana pants that have a bit of stretch paired with a super warm and stylin’ TNF down coat!
Never Stop Learning! It’s an amazing thing to have the internet in our lives. Such a firehose of information to absorb and learn from. YouTube can teach you almost anything! Some of my favorites lately have been: 3D printing, video and photography, Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD, windsurf foiling, welding, Lean Manufacturing, wilderness navigation, Takt time calculations, advanced laundry tech, plumbing for boiler steam systems and even how to groom a full Cross-Country Ski Track in our snow filled back yard!
A recent show I watched that I’d recommend is: “One Strange Rock” – a great documentary series (on Amazon Prime) hosted by Will Smith. He weaves a fascinating history of our planet Earth using the perspective of astronauts living on the international space station. As they tell stories of their time in space, each are visibly moved and forever changed by the experience of seeing how connected, how unique, how special, yet so fragile our beautiful blue planet is in this vast universe.
My favorite thing about traveling is that you always return home with a fresh new perspective on life. After watching “One Strange Rock”, my thought was that all future world leaders should be requiredt o visit space before making planetary decisions. Things would certainly be different than they are now.
The cool thing is that the ability for that to happen is nearly here!
It's been 12 years since The Story of Stuff was released and so much has changed in that time. Here are a few changes for good that were driven by the convictions of involved citizens and the demands conscientious consumers.