Reuse Centers & Businesses Support Sustainable Living & Learning

Community Resources Support Creative and Practical Reuse

As humans have become more aware of our impact on the planet, we’ve also become more aware of the need to live in a way that is more sustainable than how we’ve lived in the past. Part of our search for sustainability includes being mindful of the things that we consume, their source, and the place(s) where they end up when we’re no longer using them. By recycling and reusing objects and materials, families can decrease their impact on the earth – and an added bonus of reuse is the potential to acquire items very inexpensively (or maybe even for free!).

Locally, there are a handful of community resources that support families in their pursuit of learning about reuse. In Northampton, Northampton ReUse organizes community events that facilitate reuse and recycling and encourage participants to learn about the ways in which items can be reused and/or recycled. Additionally, Northampton ReUse operates a ReCenter, a free store where household items in good condition can be swapped and reused.

In Easthampton, Knack: The Art of Clever Reuse serves as a resource for self-directed reuse and upcycling through the use of reused and/or recycled creative materials. Offering workshops as well as open studio time, Knack serves as a local resource for creative reuse and recycling, and teaches – both formally and informally – families how to utilize reused and recycled materials.

The Center for EcoTechnology – based in Florence and Pittsfield – offers the community support save energy and reduce waste, an element of which is reuse. Offering classes and workshops throughout the year, the organization targets ReUse through education and the EcoBuilding Bargains store in Springfield, where recycled and reused building materials are sold. Families can look to CET’s reuse-centric video playlist for ideas and instructions for recycling and reusing items within their everyday lives.

In addition to learning about and accessing reused items and materials, families can work to promote recycling and reuse in their own communities. The Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs offers a Where Does it All Go? list that links recyclable items to Massachusetts cities and towns in which they’re repurposed and what they’re made into. Western Massachusetts makes its appearance on the list with recycled newspapers, magazines, and other mixed paper, all of which are made into book covers and boxes for cereal, crackers, and board games in Erving.

[Photo credit: (cc) Lynn Friedman]

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