Banners to Beach Bags – Mod Material Reuse after Draft Town 2016

Chicago played host to the 2016 NFL Draft in April, welcoming the newest members of the NFL family to Chi-Town Draft Town, a free, fan-focused and family-friendly football festival in Grant Park. As with many local events, Bright Beat supported the planning of Solid Waste Diversion, Material Reuse and Food Recovery, making recommendations and building collaborations. We are proud to have initiated a key NFL partnership, resulting in one of the coolest reuse products we’ve seen in awhile.

The Rebuilding Exchange is a non-profit social enterprise working to create a market for reclaimed building materials by diverting waste and creating assets. They promote sustainable deconstruction practices and educate on reuse, as well as train people with barriers to employment. “Rx” is creating innovative models for sustainability and demonstrating the value of reuse, and community-based values.

The NFL Draft’s vinyl banners were ubiquitous throughout Draft Town, seen by the 225,000 in attendance and over 3,000,000 TV viewers, according to Nielsen ratings. Thanks to a partnership with the Rebuilding Exchange, this banner material previously destined for the landfill was instead transformed into Beach Totes. Not only are these bags putting this strong material to good use, they were sewn locally at the also-inspiring ICNC small business incubator, the handles are climbing ‘deadrope’ from  local climbing gym Brooklyn Boulders, and the patch was made by a Chicago embroidery company operating for over 125 years. To us, these bags represent a quintessential Chicago collaboration – like caramel corn and cheese corn, but with way healthier – and we are honored to have played a part.