Every person in America is subject to consumerism. We are almost brainwashed from birth with advertisements and the message that we should buy what we want the moment we see it.
This message is now being contested by people across the country who aim to diminish the negative effects of consumerism by reusing old and unwanted products.
On a local scale, the New Paltz Transfer Station has set up a ReUse Center to take in the unwanted items ranging from excess construction materials — such as lumber, windows and plumbing — to home decor and office supplies like lamps, vanities and fabrics.
These rejected items, which are still in good condition, are then resold at a much lower price in hopes to give a second chance to these items.
The Recycling Assistant at the New Paltz Transfer Station Amanda Sisenstein works to help these items find their new homes.
“It’s a dual mission,” Sisenstein said. “One, we are trying to divert reusable materials out of the landfill … The second is, to have affordable items available to the community.”
The ReUse and Recycling Center has created a place in which people are able to safely dispose of unwanted items and recyclables to reduce the effects of consumerism and combat the issue of overcrowded landfills and the negative environmental fallout landfills have.
For the ReUse center to divert even a small amount of outgoing reusable and recyclable items is that much more important to combat a plethora of different issues. These issues range from the aforementioned consumerism to climate change in an attempt to shift from those hurtful concepts to a more sustainable one.
“[On] a typical week, we take in anywhere from five to 10 boxes of donations,” Sisenstein said. “I don’t think we’ve gone a week in the past several months with any less than three to five boxes.”
These donations are integral in the Recycling/ReUse Center’s missions of keeping the reusable out of landfills and giving affordable options to the New Paltz community.
The Center also has a “Free Shed” open that holds items that are in possible need of repair and not entirely suitable for the main ReUse Center building.
The Town of New Paltz website outlines the “New ‘Rs’: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle.” The “Free Shed” is a perfect way to utilize the newest “R” added “Repurpose.” For these items that are in need of repair, you could also repurpose them. Of course, all items at the ReUse Center are able to be repurposed, everything here is about giving new life to the lost. For those interested in helping the Recycling/ ReUse Center, they sadly had to put their volunteer program on hold due to COVID-19, but they hope to reestablish this program come the spring so look out for updates.
Until then, the best way to help and support the ReUse Center is to check out their location at 99 Clearwater Rd., New Paltz, and spread the word, together we can work to create a more sustainable New Paltz.