by Muriel Williman
On Saturday April 2, Orange County Solid Waste Management hosted the first ever Reuse Rodeo, in cooperation with the Triangle Reuse Alliance and four local reuse-based non-profit organizations – Club Nova, the Recyclery, Interfaith Council for Social Services and The Scrap Exchange. By all measures, it was a great success in materials collected, publicity for the organizations involved and diversion from the landfill. The idea was to raise awareness about non-profits in our community that promote reuse, and also to help those organizations receive materials that they could use in their operations.
As part of the collaboration, the Triangle Reuse Alliance also created a guide for Orange County Reuse Organizations to serve for those wishing to give their used but usable goods a second home (see attached). All of the participating non-profits agreed that the event surpassed their expectations in terms of turnout, materials received and over all great community connections.
The ReCYCLEry received 17 bikes and various bike parts including a brand new set of training wheels. The ReCYCLEry will shine up these rides and give them to kids in our community. In exchange for volunteer hours individuals learn to fix up bikes, and by fixing bikes for others, can earn their own bike to ride.
The Inter-Faith Council received over 60 reusable cloth bags, 30 reusable grocery bags (from Trader Joes and other locations), 10 backpacks, and two paper grocery bags filled with tissue wrapping paper. The IFC will fill these bags with food and personal care items to give to clients that come to their facilities.
Club Nova loaded a mini van full of goods to go into their thrift store, ready for spring projects. Collection included 60 planters, 15 picture frames, garden and household tools of all types-- two chainsaws, an electric sharpener, a cordless drill, a toolbox filled with hand tools, a skilsaw, a bow saw, pruning shears and a grass trimmer.
The Scrap Exchange filled their van with craft supplies including enough blue denim to cover a couch, 13 boxes, swaths and rolls of beautiful fabric, 6 boxes of sewing notions such as quilting supplies, sewing needles, buttons, curtains and hooks. They also received 14 boxes of various craft supplies including clay figurines ready to paint, pinecones, bottle caps and wine corks.
The 30 individual donors that came to the event heard about the about it through various means—the Chapel Hill News, Chapel Hill Herald, WCHL, WXDU, neighborhood and church listservs, email, the Solid Waste webpage, and word of mouth were all mentioned. Several people just stopped by, drawn in by the colorful signage and frisky activity in the Solid Waste Administrative Office parking lot. In keeping with the Rodeo theme, the event was given additional color by volunteers sporting cowboy hats, recycled art, colorful signs and banners, and the cowboys playing guitar and singing cowboy songs. Will & Pops food truck provided the vittles, so no one went away hungry.
This event will serve as a model for other “Reuse Rodeos” in the future. There are two more Reuse Rodeos coming up in the Triangle, one in Raleigh on May 21st and the other in Cary in June. Founder and Executive Director of the National Reuse Alliance, Mary Ellen Etienne, was present and said she could see this as the start of a national movement.