After The Exhibition, Finding New Uses for Displays

MAKING what is old new again with fresh displays has long been the province of museums. But what happens to all the stuff left over when shows end? Many museums are going beyond traditional recycling efforts and giving second lives to exhibit materials.

Relan, a Twin cities area company, has repurposed billboards and banners since 1995, and today works with about 50 museums across the country. A large banner yields about eight bags, said Della Simpson, president of Relan.

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Filed under Life-Cycle, Museum Sustainability, Recycle Vinyl, Recycling, Repurposing, Small Business, Sustainability, Unique Gifts

Surfing banners catch the upcycle wave

Working with Relan, a company in Mendota Heights, Minn., that upcycles used vinyl banners into unique bags and other products, Reef Redemption Project saved 5,000 square feet of vinyl from disposal. Relan transformed the Reef Hawaiian Pro banners into soft-sided coolers, iPad cases and grocery totes.

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Sustainable: Relan turns billboards and banners into bags

Relan takes vinyl billboards and banners that usually end up in landfills and turns them into products that companies and nonprofits can give away at conferences and events or sell in their gift shops. Relan’s owner Della Simpson describes the process of reusing the material as “upcycling” because it repurposes rather than recycles content.

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Filed under Billboards, Corporate Sustainability, CSR, Landfills, Made in the USA, Recycle Vinyl, Recycling, Repurposing, Small Business, Sustainability

Museums and Sports Teams can’t bear to throw away their banners – thanks to Relan, they don’t have to

~by Steven Mollman, Minnesota Business Magazine January Edition

SMART MOVE:  Staying out of retail, serving corporate clients.  Relan decided that to really make an impact on the amount of banners and billboards put into the landfills, the business model needed to change from a retail focus to a wholesale focus on the big corporate contributors.  Through new relationships with associations like the Green Sports Alliance, Relan is growing their corporate presence and reaching larger audiences with a new way to reach target markets through repurposed banner and billboard products.

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Filed under Billboards, Corporate Sustainability, Made in the USA, Recycle Vinyl, Recycling, Repurposing, Small Business, Sustainability

Finalists announced for 2014 Community Impact Awards by Minnesota Business Magazine

Relan is proud to be a finalist for the 2014 Community Impact Awards by Minnesota Business Magazine. This notable honor celebrates companies and individuals making the world a better place.  Relan is nominated in the Sustainability Award category (recognizing Minnesota companies for offering their products or services in a way that’s better for the environment).

Each finalist will be profiled in the March 2014 issue of the magazine, and the winner of each category will be announced at Feb. 27 awards event in Minneapolis

via Finalists announced for 2014 Community Impact Awards by Minnesota Business Magazine | Minnesota Business Magazine | Minnesota Business Blogs | Minnesota Business.

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Portland Timbers Stand Together Week Makes One More Environmental Impact


Portland Timbers LogoOctober 16, 2013, Portland, OR – The Portland Timbers, along with 2013 Stand Together Week sponsors Alaska Airlines, adidas, CenturyLink, Coca-Cola and Providence Health and Services, organized Stand Together Week as a call to action to get involved in the Portland community August 4-10, 2013.

In 2012 and 2013, Stand Together Week participants donated 4,212 hours of service at 58 events benefitting youth and the environment in the Portland Metro area. Nonprofits served included Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia NW, Portland YouthBuilders, and Friends of Trees, among others. Each project had a meaningful impact on the community with an overall focus on benefitting youth and the environment.

Portland Timbers Stand Together Week

Stand Together Week Banner on Display

When the event was complete the Timbers chose not to put their banners in the landfill, but rather to work with Relan to give event banners a “second life.”

The banners offer an opportunity to stay committed to the event’s mission:  Give, Unite, Inspire,  by producing products that the club can “give away with items folks buy at our auctions and that we can sell to raise money for our Community Fund,” said Christa Thoeresz, Director of Community Relations for the Timbers.

Portland Timbers Repurposed Tote

2013 Stand Together Week Repurposed Tote

This year’s banners were saved from the landfill and are helping the Timbers reach their fans and support their community in one more creative way! The Portland Timbers and other members of the Green Sports Alliance continually look for new ways to be environmentally responsible.  JELD-WEN Field, home of the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC has stated a goal of increasing its landfill waste diversion rate to 90 percent of all waste generated at the facility.  The Timbers contribution of upcycling their banners will help reduce the more than 600,000 tons of vinyl from billboards and banners that go into our landfills each year.

Portland Timbers Bag Tags

Upcycled Bag Tags made from Stand Together Week Banners

Working with Relan, the Timbers discovered that rather than discarding the banners at the end of Stand Together Week, repurposing provided an opportunity to create a deeper connection with their loyal community and spur the discussion about sustainability, environmentally conscious practices and social responsibility.

”We are excited to continue working with Relan to repurpose banners moving forward,” stated Thoeresz, a decision that also creates jobs in the United States and supports the small business community.

About Stand Together

Stand Together represents the relationship between the Portland Timbers and our fans and signifies the strong commitment we have to supporting and standing by our community both on and off the field.

: The Portland Timbers Stand Together mission is to harness the power of sport to improve the lives of children and families in the Portland metro area through targeted programs, deep partnerships, and philanthropic giving.

For more information about the Portland Timbers and Stand Together please visit

About the Green Sports Alliance

The Green Sports Alliance is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent over 190 teams and venues from 16 different leagues. The Portland Timbers were the second MLS team to join the Alliance, and the Portland Thorns FC, the first NWSL team to join. Find out more about the Green Sports Alliance at

About Relan

Relan focuses on the education and communication of environmental and sustainable practices as it pertains to the re-purposing of the over 600,000 tons of vinyl billboards and banner material produced each year, most of which currently ends up in landfills across our country. Relan partners with companies to promote sustainability initiatives by creating unique, usable products out of billboard and banner marketing materials.  All of Relan’s products are made in the USA.  For more information about Relan please visit

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Filed under Billboards, Corporate Sustainability, Driving Social Change, Made in the USA, Recycle Vinyl, Recycling, Small Business, Sustainability, Sustainable Messaging Tools

Unique Green Holiday Gifts Now Available!

We have been inspired by our clients this year and have decided to offer some of our most in demand products to our clients for our first time ever Special Holiday Gift Promotion.

This is the first time ever that Relan is offering these products in this way and when they are gone . . . the are gone forever!

Each product is a limited editionupcycled vinyl Relan offering, with an exclusive Relan label stating “one of a kind handmade from an actual banner or billboard”.

Here is the list of the “most in demand products” in this promotion:

• The Wicked – Women’s handbag
• The BRAND NEW Urban Tote – lightweight zippered tote
• The Noo-k-i Sleeve – Zippered Tablet Sleeve (think iPad, Tablet or Reader)
• The Non-Loser – Luggage Tag
• The Biz – Business Card Holder

All orders must be place by November 1, 2013 to ensure your product will arrive to you no later than December 13.

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Filed under corporate gift program, Corporate Sustainability, Fashion, Gifts, Holiday Gifts, Made in the USA, Recycle Vinyl, Recycling, Repurposing, Sustainable Living, Sustainable Messaging Tools, Unique Gifts