What is a Creative Reuse Center?
Good question! Here's the deal: A creative reuse center collects discarded materials, sorts them, and makes them available for people to use in any creative way they wish. Brilliant concept, huh? Yeah, we thought so too.
Maybe you've heard of "upcycling". That's just a fancy new name for something many of us have been doing for a long time: finding creative ways to give old stuff new value. You take something that was headed for the landfill, and make it into something more useful, more beautiful or more functional.
Upcycling is at the heart of creative reuse.
- Tote bags from old T-shirts? Why not?
- A bath mat from wine corks? Of course!
- A bowl from old magazines? Sure!
The basic idea is this:
- Keep stuff out of the landfill
- Provide low-cost art supplies to parents, teachers, crafters, artists, designers & organizations
- Offer hands on workshops to anyone who wants to create amazing things and learn more about the art of reuse
- Build a community of like-minded, resourceful folks
Things you might find in a creative reuse center include:
- paper and cardboard of all types
- bottles & jars
- fabric, yarn, & sewing notions
- paint, crayons, glue
- wine corks
- scrap wood & metal
- carpet & tile samples
- boxes & containers
- industrial scraps/odds & ends
- office supplies
- who knows what else?
Need ideas or inspiration?
Check out Knack on Pinterest, where we have categorized our boards by material type.
Who benefits from a creative reuse center?
Would you believe it if we said everyone? It's true, everyone can benefit from a reuse center. This is a win-win concept.
- Waste is diverted from our local landfills - always a good thing, right?
- Budget-strapped artists, teachers, parents, students (and anyone else who wants to!) can buy inexpensive, unique materials for projects
- The community building possibilities are endless: workshops, group projects, educational field trips
Are there other creative reuse centers?
Yes! We weren't the first people to think of this revolutionary idea -- there are creative reuse centers scattered throughout the US. Some of them have been around for more than 30 years. Are you asking yourself why the Pioneer Valley hasn't jumped on this bandwagon? So are we - and we want to climb aboard. Now.
Check out a few from the list below to get a better idea of what we are trying to create for Western, MA.
- SCRAP (Portland, OR)
- Extras for Creative Reuse (Lynn, MA)
- East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse (Oakland, CA)
- Long Beach Depot for Creative ReUse (Long Beach, CA)
- World-wide list of Scrapstores and Creative Reuse Centers (courtesy of Art of Recycle)