& Sat-Sun 10am-5pm
In 2012 BIG!NYC:
* Diverted 1,200 tons of reuseable building materials from the landfill
* Donated over 57 tons of lumber to community & school gardens. That's 1,200 raised garden beds in NYC!
* Gave away $58,780 worth of materials to local organizations.
5/21 BIG!Compost Volunteer Orientation @ LIC (6:30-8pm). RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
5/28 BIG!Workshops: Know Your Tools: Women & Trans Tool 101 @ BIG!NYC Gowanus (6:30-8pm)
6/2 BIG!Workshops: Mosaic What Your Momma Gave You @ BIG!NYC Gowanus (11:30am-1:30pm)
6/8 BIG!Workshops: Scaffolding Lumber Benches with Spark Workshops @ BIG!NYC Gowanus (11:30am-1:30pm)
6/15,22,29 BIG!Workshops: Make Your Own Folding Stool with Mr. Fox @ BIG!NYC Gowanus (3 sessions; 12:30-2pm)
New York City Sierran
Reuse Enterprises Keep Discards Out Of Landfills
Photo by JOHN PEARSON
DOORS GALORE: BIG!'s Justin Green (left) and Jonathan Sills of Reuse Alliance inspect inventory at the new Astoria retail outlet.
Reuse is the recovery of discarded, yet usable materials from the waste stream. While recycling extracts matenals such as metal, glass, and plastics from discards, reuse preserves them whole, including the value of labor, technology, and energy incorporated in them. Reuse enterprises offer quality products to people with limited means and generate jobs and business activity that contribute to the city's economy -- an alternative to costly exports of reusables as waste.
NYC's newest reuse venture is Build It Green! (BIG!), a non-profit retail outlet for reusable building materials in Astoria, Queens. For its opening on Feb.12 it had 45 tons of doors, windows, sinks, cabinets, flooring, lighting and other goods priced at 30% to 70% less than new.
â€œCustomers purchasing salvaged and surplus building materials not only save money,says Justin Green, BIG!'s program director, they also help keep perfectly useful material out of the landfill. Housed in 17,500 square feet of a former foundry, BIG! plans to expand its inventory to add new environmentally-friendly materials that aren't regulady stocked by commercial suppliers of building materials.
BIG! also offers a deconstruction service with crews that carefully dismantle buildings to salvage reusable materials - a green alternative to demolition. To date, these crews have salvaged over 70 tons of reusables and recyclables as part of two large-scale deconstruction projects of The Durst Organization a NYC-based company that has pioneered commercial green development. In the future, BIG! plans to include green building consultancy in its services.
The merchandise BIG! sells is a mix of materials salvaged from buildings and donated by suppliers or manufacturers discontinuing product lines or cleanng out storage space. BIG! is a service of Community Environmental Center, which provides energy conservation services throughout the NY metro area.
Diverse ventures. NYC's reuse sector offers a variety of goods and services from refurbished computers and industrial surplus to household items and skills/job training. Programs such as Materials for the Arts, NY WaSteMatch, Tools for Schools, Recycle-a-Bicycle, Goodwill and City Harvest offer affordable materials to people operating on tight budgets, provide tax benefits and reduced disposal costs to businesses and individuals, and help educate the public about waste prevention. To have a substantial impact on NYC's trash burden, however, the number and scale of reuse programs must increase.
In 2003, more than 20 reuse enterprises came together under the umbrella of the Reuse Alliance (RA) the nation's first member-led regional reuse organization. It aims to build a dynamic network of organizations and interested parties,says founding director MaryEllen Etienne, that will improve reuse infrastructure, share resources and technical support, attract new investment; and increase public awareness.
A recent RA effort is to build support for large-scale community reuse complexes that can provide retail and warehouse space for expansion of existing reuse programs and incubator space for new ones. The model is Hunts Point Markets --fish, produce, and meat -- for which the city provided low-cost land and buildings as well as technical assistance and business services. The savings to the city in decreased waste disposal could offset its investment. We believe cooperatively managed facilities can do for reuse what Hunts Point has done for food distribution, Etienne says.
For more in formation or to contribute time, materials, warehouse equipment or money to BIG!, contact Justin Green at jgreen@cecenter. org or www. bignyc. org. (Currently, BIG! is limiting pick-ups to largequantity donations only). For more on RA or to become a member please contact MaryEllen Etienne at reusealliance@optonline. net or www.reusealliance.net. Both may be reached at 718-777-0132.