Re-Use Project

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Many excellent Re-Use projects in the works!
 St. Lawrence RE-USE CENTER Planning 

Plans are afoot for creating many more re-use opportunities in St. Lawrence County - for textiles, household goods, construction materials and more! 

Planning sessions began in June of 2015 and continue with the April, 2016 submission of a small start-up grant to create the platform for a ReUse Center, modeled on the successful Finger Lakes ReUse Center
Features of the grant's "deliverables" include:

  • Establishing a "Fixer's Collective" of free monthly repair sessions for appliances, electronics, furniture, etc.
  • Establish the basis of a "deconstruction" program, to salvage building materials that would otherwise go in the landfill or be burned.
  • Seek a location for coordination of all ReUse services and for the "resale" of items not otherwise absorbed by local thrift outlets.
  • Make connections for the various "job training" components that come into play with the deconstruction and resale portions of the program.

The Re-Use Center concept is another collaboration of the LLV with DANC, EMC, Solid Waste and NERC, with participation from over 20 other regional organizations.

This team has put together three events so far:

  • A week-long Textile Recovery Campaign in November 2014, garnering 5 tons of textiles (that went to St. Lawrence County thrift stores and downstate re-use facilities) that would otherwise have gone into landfills.
  • The Re-Use Training on April 30, 2015 was well received by the three dozen attendees and very productive.  It was decided that the creation of a ReUse Center, following the Finger Lakes model, would be a priority for the group moving forward.
  • The May 2015 College Move-out Days campaign to re-use and re-purpose clothing, household items, and office supplies/equipment left behind by college students leaving for the summer also went well.  (see the 2015 Report on this project below.)  Services were provided to three area campuses (SUNY Potsdam, Clarkson, St. Lawrence) in 2016 as well.

If you would like to be involved in making a Re-Use Center happen here in the St. Lawrence River Valley, please write us at for details, noting Re-Use Project in the Subject line please. 



 ReUse Planning & Implementation Event 
JULY 14, 2015

July 7, 2015

CANTON, NY --  A new initiative to create a ReUse Center in St. Lawrence County is getting off the ground with a public information and recruitment session to be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, July 14th at the County Human Services Building at 80 St. Hwy. 310 in Canton, NY. 

The event is free, includes light refreshments, and any interested members of the public are encouraged to attend.  Reservations are encouraged, to assist in planning the event.

"This ReUse Center project is an opportunity to re-use materials that we already have, rather than always buying new – and saving money! " reported County Planner John Tenbusch, "We can also create local jobs while we reduce our waste stream. Talk about your 'win–win' situation!"

Similar successful projects that can serve as resources for this project have been organized in Ithaca, NY; Missoula, Montana; Boulder, Colorado; Edmonston, Maryland; Bloomington, Minnesota; Golden Valley, Minnesota; Saint Paul, Minnesota; and in Portland, Oregon.

The kick off event to create a St. Lawrence ReUse Center is being hosted by the St. Lawrence ReUse Partnership, a coalition of community groups and agencies dedicated to making this important project a reality in St. Lawrence County. 

The St. Lawrence County ReUse Partnership currently consists of St. Lawrence County Solid Waste Dept., St. Lawrence County EMC (Environmental Management Council), the Local Living Venture,  NYSDEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) Region 6, the Canton Economic Development Office, DANC (Development Authority of the North Country), NERC (Northeast Recycling Council).

The group began working together last November on a week-long Textile Recovery project in conjunction with area thrift stores that recycled over five tons of re-usable textiles and kept them out of landfills.  After the success of this effort, they continued in May with a Campus Re-use project to reclaim items discarded by students as the semester ended.

In addition, the Partnership hosted a ReUse Training event on April 30th, where Diane Cohen of the Finger Lakes ReUse Center in Tompkins County, NY was a featured speaker.  Ms. Cohen electrified the audience with her story about the development of the highly successful Finger Lakes ReUse Center, inspiring the formation of this project. 

Since 2008 the Finger Lakes ReUse Center has established a re-sale shop for used items, deconstructed, reclaimed and sold building materials, refurbished computers and electronics for resale, begun a "Fixer’s Collective” where experienced volunteers help people to repair broken items, and created a Job Training program that teaches people job skills and provides employment referral assistance.

In seven years, Finger Lakes ReUse has grown to directly employ eighteen persons, plus another twelve work-study staff.  Annual sales have grown to more than $440,000.00.  Finger Lakes ReUse has saved Tompkins County over $100,000 in waste disposal costs, and generated over $2.1 million in revenues.
Since the Training event in April, the SLC ReUse Partnership has begun work to create a ReUse Center in St. Lawrence County, following a template devised by the Tompkins County group. 

At the upcoming kick-off public event for the Center on July 14th, Diane Cohen will speak about her project in relationship to developing a ReUse program in St. Lawrence County. She will tell her story and answer questions.  Participants will then discuss what will work in our area and set up action teams to make it happen.

Plans for the ReUse Center include collecting items both for resale at the Center and for redistribution to area thrift stores or existing item-specific reclamation projects (such as some electronics recovery efforts locally.)  Items to be reclaimed will include furniture, home and office electronics, appliances, household items, and building supplies.

Job creation is a major component of the project and includes the staff needed to run the Center as well as the potential for job training efforts, such as a deconstruction component for buildings being demolished or rehabilitated.  Such training efforts would familiarize trainees with construction materials, methods, and safety protocols, providing them with sale-able skills in the workforce.  Many other community projects could spring from the new ReUse Center as well.  Reused building materials are safe, sound, and a low-cost alternative for many uses.

Deconstruction is the careful dismantling of a building structure in a way that salvages the parts that can be reusable building materials.  Materials coming from deconstruction may include lumber, doors, windows, cabinetry, and hardwood flooring.  By choosing deconstruction, homeowners and builders can save natural resources and help divert material from the landfill, providing significant savings. 

There is no charge for the July 14th session, but reservations are needed, since space is limited.  Call (315) 379-2292 or email John Tenbusch at to reserve a place.





Plastic Bag Monster, Slovenia

REPORT:     OUTCOMES for the College Move Out Days Campaign 2015

Larry Legault of the St. Lawrence County Solid Waste Department met the Rescue Mission truck on Saturday, May 16, 2015 to do a pickup of items from the containers provided by his department at the three participating colleges.

They started at SLU and picked up approximately 150 bags of textile.
Then onto Clarkson where they picked up approximately 80 bags of textile. Clarkson also had some furniture and household items that they took.
Last stop SUNY Potsdam, approximately 100 bags of textile and some household items.

The Rescue Mission left with a full truck and were very pleased with the amount of items picked up.

95 percent of what the Rescue Mission took was textile. There wasn’t much in the way of household items or furniture for them to take from any of the sites. Most of the household items and furniture was of no value to them unfortunately and what they felt was of no value to them they left behind. They do not take TV’s or microwaves for instance.

At 330 bags+ collected, easily a ton and a half of usable textiles and some household items were diverted from the waste stream by this effort!

Many thanks are due to the campus-based coordinators who worked with us to ensure a success for our first year event.
St. Lawrence University - Louise Gava

Clarkson University - Sue Powers
SUNY Potsdam - Tony DiTullio

Please offer them your thanks for doing the right thing to help mitigate the impact of thousands of young people leaving the area and leaving so much behind that is useful!
(For SLU and CU this was already an effort they undertook on their own, but we added more resources for them to work with, for full disclosure!)

The College Move Out Days project is another collaboration of
NERC, DANC, SLC-EMC, SLC-Solid Waste and the LLV