Will This Be the Reuse Generation?

By Ted Reiff

All of us are familiar with some type of reuse, but even certified reusers might be surprised by the ingenious ideas depicted in these photos. Boots as bird houses, jeans as planters. And, seriously, who would have thought to make a bookcase from an upended baby-grand piano?

The photos were lifted from one of those clever montages that frequently circulate on the Internet. I don’t know how to credit them, since the email was forwarded to me (and no doubt thousands of others). I do know that its creator titled it “Recycling At Its Best,” which is a slight misnomer. This is reuse, not recycling.

Most people don’t know the difference, and I guess that’s not terribly important. But just for the record, reuse involves the straight turnaround of an item. Take an old boot, tack it to a tree and hope that a bird finds in it a cozy nest. Stuff some old jeans, secure them to a balcony, top them with soil, and plant a grassy privacy screen.

Recycling would transform the boot and the jeans into completely new products. For example, the rubber from the boot might be recycled into a resilient paving material. The jeans might be torn apart and the fabric used for quilting, or even reprocessed into cotton fiber and turned into coffee filters or a fishing net.

Besides being inventive, reuse is quick and efficient and uses little or no energy. Recycling takes longer and involves some degree of transformation, which does require energy. Don’t get me wrong, both are important. But reuse has definite advantages and I’m glad to see it becoming more mainstream.

I hope these photos will stir your creative juices and prompt you to enter the TRP-sponsored 2013 National Reuse Contest. Let’s not limit reuse to clothing and household goods. Not when tons of building materials are stacking up around the country begging to be saved from landfills. Create something! Then enter the contest!

Not only could you win a prize at the local level, in addition TRP is awarding prizes worth $1,000, $500 and $250 to the top three national winners.

August 31 is the last day to submit your entry to one of our participating reuse stores. You’ll find a list on our website. Visit www.TheReUsePeople.org for complete information on this year’s contest.

Special Events Reminders

November 23: Congratulations to TRP on the 20th anniversary of its founding!

Specials of the Month

At the Oakland warehouse we are featuring plumbing fixtures. Receive 25% off the price of any vanity, tub, or other plumbing item in the warehouse through July 31.
The ReUse People Specials
The Los Angeles warehouse is featuring windows. Receive 25% off the price of any window in the warehouse through July 31.
The ReUse People Specials

New Inventory

The Oakland warehouse has received a variety of beautiful materials, including complete kitchens, from 6,000, 7,000 and 3,000 square-foot homes in Atherton, Lafayette and San Ramon.

The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials

The Los Angeles warehouse has received an unusual handcrafted coffee table with glass top and metal tray, a handcrafted Dutch-style exterior door, and a reproduction fiberglass claw-foot tub in excellent condition. All handsome items, definitely worth a look.

The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials

Deconstruction & New Materials Update

Visit the TRP website for a complete list of current deconstruction projects and inventories. Just click on “Retail Sales” and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Location and Contact Information

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Oakland
9235 San Leandro Street
Oakland, CA  94603
(510) 383-1983; toll-free 888-588-9490
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-6:00 Closed Sunday

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Los Angeles
3015 Dolores Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065
818-244-5635
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-5:00; Sat 10:00-4:00

Please visit our partnering warehouses:
Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Orange County (two convenient locations)
12827 Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 590-8729
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00- 8:00; Saturday 9:00-6:00; Sunday 11:00-5:00
2200 S. Ritchey Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 434-6266
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-5:00; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Kansas City
4701 Deramus, Kansas City MO 64120
(816) 231-6889
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-6:00; Sat 9:00-4:00; closed Sunday

The ReBuilding Exchange, Chicago
1740 West Webster, Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 847-3761
Hours: Tues-Wed 10:00-6:00; Thurs 12:00-8:00; Fri-Sat 10:00-6:00

The ReUse Warehouse
800 Taylor Street
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 219-4913
Hours: Mon-Fri, 2:00-6:00; Sat, 9:30-5:00

Second Chance Building Materials Center
1423 West Grove Street
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 331-2707
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:00-6:00; Sun, 12:00-5:00

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