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Creative Reuse Centers

Reuse centers and warehouses accept donations and gather items that are still in usable condition, then offer them at economical prices for resale.

Many are non-profit organizations that are available to the public for shopping, although some are only open to specialty customers, such as schools, construction industries or other particular businesses.

In order to keep perfectly good items from local landfills, reuse supply centers generally operate by collecting and then offering materials at affordable prices, thus providing the community with needed, reasonably priced products. The inventory is continuously changing as new merchandise and contributions are received, but some available items usually include fabrics, furniture, construction and office supplies, woods, wires, tiles and tons of other things.

These are great options for finding many basic and unique supplies, which are ordinarily much cheaper than buying new products. For artistic talents, warehouses frequently have lots of inexpensive art supplies, as well as educational materials for local families and teachers, schools and community centers.

Reuse Alliance and Lancaster Creative Reuse have directories of reuse centers in the U.S. as well as some international listings, including nearly 100 scrapstore postings for the U.K.

Habitat for Humanity International has 825 ReStores in Canada and the U.S., which offer gently used furniture, appliances, housewares and building supplies. Profits go back to local associates that help build affordable homes and perform housing renovations.

Interested in opening your own reuse center? Check with local business development centers. These are usually available through government entities and at some universities. Additionaly, the U.S. Small Business Administration provides information on opening a non-profit organization.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also has an overview on reasons that reuse and recycling focused areas offer practical business opportunities.

Reusing on this scale keeps a large amount of still functional objects in circulation, giving them another useful go around.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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