Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The day of the great feast is nearly upon us. I look forward to stuffing myself with turkey, potatoes and pumpkin pie. It is also, of course, a day of giving thanks. I am thankful for my boyfriend, my family, my friends. I am also thankful to our customers and donors who inspire me every day. I love that Durham is filled with people like me who say “Don’t throw that out! I could make something with that!”

I was raised by two parents who grew up poor and because of them I’ve been creatively reusing things all my life. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I knew there was an actual name for it. For me it was just the way things were done. I hope that’s the way it will be for future generations, too. Judging by the number of Scrap aficionados under the age of ten, I’d say we’re off to a good start.

And by the way, additional thanks go to the Body Shop for giving us some really cool boxes, bowls and bottles.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Is NC going green?

The other night I went to the Nicholas School of the Environment for a panel discussion on environmental public policy in North Carolina, and what some of our leaders thought of the changes in administration, and the burning issues related to NC and the environment. You can go to the Nicholas School website to see a webcast of the discussion. I am very interested in public policy, how laws are enacted and changed, along with how programs get funded on a federal, state, and local level. I am always amazed at the high level of funding for certain programs, and none for others. (The Scrap Exchange receives very little public funding, and I think our budget should be triple what it is, along with having a waste recovery and resource system in place for other counties and cities in North Carolina and beyond).

Some topics that were touched on were: drought, offshore drilling, smart growth , open spaces, farmland preservation, statewide reduction goals for greenhouse gas emissions, ozone layer depletion, and climate change just to name a few. I was waiting for someone to mention waste reduction/conservation of resources, etc.

Ellen Reckhow, Durham County Commissioner, gave a shout out to Clean Energy Durham for their grassroots efforts of going house to house to reduce energy consumption. And a refreshing yet depressing attitude was from a gentleman by the name of Ernest Carl, who informed the audience that the suggestions of the other panelists would be “dead on arrival” and nothing would happen for the next 5 years due to the budget crunch. I just love the fact that he did not sugar coat anything, and was not even hopeful.

Our organization will be watching these issues and what the new administration is up to. I have to say, The Scrap Exchange has reached out to the county and the city for funding (by applying for grants), and has been horribly disappointed by the amount of support we have not received (we did receive limited funding from the City if Durham, but nothing from the County). So we hope that all this talk of going green isn't just talk and translates into some green for environmentally sustainable programs like The Scrap Exchange.

Meanwhile, 260 tons of municipal solid waste are being thrown away daily in Durham County daily (over 290,000 tons annually), and teachers are spending their own money on resources.

We are going to need some partners if we are going to move ahead on both of these issues.

Friday, November 14, 2008

NC Art Educator’s Conference

Last weekend I went to the North Carolina Art Educators Conference in Asheville. It was the perfect time to go to Asheville—the leaves had turned, but not yet fallen. It was a beautiful drive into the mountains.

We go to this conference every year and really enjoy the chance to meet with art teachers from across the state. A lot of them live far away from The Scrap Exchange and don’t get a chance to visit the store, so we bring the store to them. It’s fun to see how excited they get over our materials and our prices—much like what happens when we get a newbie in the store.

I also had the opportunity to teach a workshop to a group of teachers and aspiring teachers. It was inspiring to see the creations they made with the materials we brought—a puppet made from a paper soup container, a few fabulous (and very different) dolls, and a castle, to name a few. There were a few who were disconcerted when I told them we don’t use glue when we do events and workshops, but everyone managed to make something cool. And one of the teachers who seemed horrified by the lack of glue later commented that it was actually a really great challenge and forced her to be more creative. And it is, of course, part of our mission to promote creativity, so hooray!

My favorite non-working part of the trip? The Shriner Parade. Who doesn’t love a bunch of old(er) men driving around miniature cars?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Poker Night this Saturday!

Come join us this Saturday!

5th Annual Charity Poker Night for The Scrap Exchange
Mission - Promote creativity, environmental awareness and community through creative reuse of industrial discards.

Date: Saturday, November 8
Time: 7pm-10pm
Location: The Scrap Exchange Store, 548 Foster Street, Durham, NC

—Beginner and veteran poker players welcome.
—For every $20 donated to The Scrap Exchange, players will receive $200 in poker chips and a tax deductible receipt.
—No-limit Texas Hold-em is the game of choice.
—No need to pre-register but reserve your space by emailing Kelley at kdennings [at] gmail [dot] com
—The player at each table with the most chips at the break and end of the night will receive a prize.
—Wine, beer and snacks provided.

Current prizes include gift certificates from: Carolina Rollergirls, Barnes & Noble, JJill, Drag Bingo, Phydeaux Dog Supplies, Frankie's, Consolidated Theaters, Galaxy Theater, Red Lobster, Nice Price Books, Sarla licensed massage therapist and more added daily.

Can't attend? - Make a secure online donation through Network for Good -