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MaryEllen Etienne is the CEO of Reuse Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of reuse – a central tenet of sustainability – through educational events, training services, and research projects. By leveraging her expertise in the reuse industry, she helps businesses, municipalities, and nonprofits to incorporate robust reuse policies and strategies into their sustainability efforts; and provides capacity-building education through "Master Reuser", a webinar-based training program and "ReuseConex", the international reuse conference and expo.


MaryEllen has been working in the fields of sustainable materials management for nearly two decades with the personal goal of increasing the awareness of, and access to, reuse opportunities. She has extensive experience finding new markets for reusable materials, has conducted ground-breaking research on the reuse industry, is highly knowledgeable in reuse operations, and provides ongoing input into the industry’s growth and development.

MaryEllen contributed to the development of two pioneering initiatives in the field of sustainable resource management. Her work as a member of the National Recycling Coalition’s National Standards Certification Board helped ensure reuse was embraced within the national certification program that was established for professional training programs in sustainable resource management. Her contributions to the US Zero Waste Business Council helped develop the nation’s first Zero Waste Business Certification program for facilities and professionals. MaryEllen authored several key reference resources including “The REUSE Primer” and “The Reuse Movement Toolkit”.

MaryEllen was the founder of Reuse Alliance, and a co-founder of the Creative Reuse Association and REUSE.International. She previously worked with notable organizations such as London Community Resource Network, NY WasteMatch, Materials for the Arts, and ReuseNYC. MaryEllen received her degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, is on the board of directors of Association of Ohio Recyclers, National Recycling Association, Reuse Institute, and SCRAP USA and the advisory boards of the US Zero Waste Business Council and Green Drinks Dayton. She is a member of the Green Business Network.

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