Centers for Creative Reuse

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We’re approaching spring cleaning, or as I like to call it — March Madness. (Just kidding, I have never called it that. But I think I’m going to start.)

This is the time of year you may come across something in your closet/garage/basement that isn’t quite right for the recycling bin, thrift store, or dumpster. You know what I mean – sometimes you find 100 leftover piggy banks that your employer personalized for an event three years ago.

Okay, maybe that isn’t a very universal example. But, that happened to me while cleaning out a closet at work a while ago. What the heck are you supposed to with 100 personalized translucent purple piggy banks? Take them to a center for creative reuse! Pittsburgh, my hometown, is one of many cities across the world that is home such a center.

These centers exist to promote the resource conservation, creativity, and community engagement through material reuse. Centers for creative reuse give new life to materials that would otherwise end up in landfills by taking donations, offering creative workshops and hands-on activities, and being a low-cost resource for artists, teachers, and others seeking interesting materials for their arts and crafts projects.


So, do you have a box of CDs that you thought were destined for the trash? Check out this directory for a place to drop them off to give them a chance to be reinvented as gorgeous sculptures, mosaics, or heck, even disco balls.

And that collection of corks you’ve amassed throughout the years? You know, the ones that you keep meaning to use to make something crafty from Pinterest? It’s go time. Either step it up and make the project already or contact your local creative reuse center to arrange a donation. While you’re at it, now would be a good time to gather the scrapbooking materials gathering dust, surplus yarn, books, magazines, maps, seashells, or any “odd, old, interesting, or mysterious items that might be used by an artist or teacher.” I’m sure you have plenty of treasures awaiting their chance to be upcycled. This list has lots of examples of the kinds of donations these centers accept.

Various Old Junk At A Flea Market image from BigStock.

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