Eventually there comes a time when you need to lighten up and just throw things out. Or so you think.
Imagine a program that helps salvage your unwanted materials and finds new purpose within the “garbage,” while still being green at the same time.
The New Paltz ReUse and Recycling Center does just that. It is designed to go beyond the boundaries of just collecting garbage. It takes your unwanted things and makes good use out of them in ways that you may not have imagined.
The facility offers tool sharing, composting, free workshops, and materials. You can buy furniture, household items, school supplies and artwork. The possibilities are endless.
One initiative of the ReUse Center is to “create a program for people to think outside of just garbage,” said Laura Petit, coordinator of the ReUse and Recycling Center. They wanted something that “takes the focus off of garbage,” and this is why this center has so many components to help sustain a green environment.
In 1996, the area was a transfer site. Garbage was brought to the site, put into containers and trucks hauled it to a landfill four and a half hours away. Through a town operation, the site quickly transformed from a trash site into a place filled with creativity. It helped reduce the carbon footprint which was a result of transporting the garbage.
When the center opened in 2011, it was hard to predict where the program would end up, but now in 2018, the results are noticeable. The center reduced New Paltz’s waste by 20 percent.
The center partners with SUNY New Paltz’s dining catering service, Sodexo, at Hasbrouck Dining Hall. For large catering events, the center takes the leftover trays of food and uses it all for non-for-profit (501c3) donations. Additionally, they work with OMEGA Institute, and local restaurants like The Bakery on Front Street. Hundreds of pounds of food are rescued and delivered to soup kitchens, churches and pantries.
“The mission is to have us think differently before buying things. Huge improvements are made just by addressing consumer choices,” Petit said.
“Consumers are really urged to think about the questions of ‘Do I need it? or ‘do I just want it.’ Maybe you don’t always need the new or the newest,” Petit said. “This is what drove the idea of book borrowing and now tool sharing. It saves money and waste,” Petit said.
In addition to the physical elements of sustainability, the ReUse and Recycling Center also offers education workshops that are crucial for sustainable development. Workshops are free to help teach people how to can and dry fruit, how to plant trees, and learn about the environment.
Volunteering opportunities are offered to help straighten up the facility, label items, help with spring clean-up and make sure materials go to the right places.
Also, as a part of the Great Community Giveaway, students can bag up their items at the end of the school year and bring them to the loading docks. This makes it easier for the center to collect end of the school year unwanted goods.
Call the Center for more information at 845-255-8456 or drop by at 3 Clearwater Rd.