We are a thrift store that salvages items usually not accepted by traditional second hand stores! Our mission is to capture these overlooked treasures before they end up in the landfill and make them available to the public through our retail store. Here are some examples: art supplies, office supplies, building supplies, legs off a broken table, scraps of wood, craft supplies, etc. We also carry regular thrift store items such as furniture, household items, books, toys, games, etc. The sale of these traditional items help to cover our overhead expenses.
This article explains The Repurpose Project in more detail:
The Repurpose Project: Buy USED! It’s good for the planet
By Sarah Goff, Co-Founder of The Repurpose Project
Buy USED! Many people are familiar with the benefits of buying local, but The Repurpose Project is working hard to promote the environmental benefits of buying USED. Everyday valuable materials are thrown away. We all see it piled on the side of the road. Some of us see it when our curiosity pushes us to peek into a dumpster and sometimes even jump in to retrieve a treasure that was tossed out. The Repurpose Project is encouraging everyone to ask: “Why buy new stuff when there is so much perfectly good USED stuff in our own communities!” When you buy something used, you eliminate all that goes into producing a new product. The raw materials don’t have to be harvested or mined from the planet. The water needed for manufacturing isn’t used. The energy needed to harvest/mine, produce, and ship the product isn’t used. The packaging is eliminated. Plus, you save money. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to buy used whenever possible!
The Repurpose Project was formed in 2011 to fill the recycling void seen in our communities. The organization salvages items that traditional thrift stores don’t. For example, a broken chair can be taken apart and the good legs used to construct a coffee table. Single crayons, rubber bands (often from produce), or paper clips are accepted and sorted in jars with like items. The single item alone seems useless, but once sorted it becomes a valuable set of crayons or a gallon jug of rubber bands. How is The Repurpose Project different from a thrift store? Here are some items you might expect to see at the reuse center that aren’t seen in traditional second hand shops: office supplies (binders, folders, paperclips, rubber bands, staples), traditional arts and craft supplies (fabric, paint, pens, paper), party supplies (decorations, gift wrapping, boxes, ribbon) unconventional art supplies (scrap metal, scrap plastic, scrap wood pieces), e-waste/wire (chargers, cables, electrical wire, speaker wire, phone wire). The organization also carries building supplies such as lumber, hardware, windows, roofing, flooring, and lighting fixtures. The Repurpose Project recently partnered with The Zen Center, a nearby housing compound for transient residents, to deconstruct houses that were destined to be demolished, put in dumpsters, and taken to the landfill. Architectural salvage is proving to be a popular and much needed resource in our community. These deconstruction efforts divert a substantial amount of weight and volume from the landfill.
Another unique aspect of The Repurpose Project is how we are able to address social justice issues and help those in need by providing lower cost supplies to our community. We try to price all items reasonably and are always willing to help out those in need with necessities. We do; however, strongly believe in paying a living wage to our hard working staff members. Our higher dollar antique and specialized items subsidize the lower priced items which keeps our organization financially sustainable and functional. The Repurpose Project is thrilled that the organization has found a way to address social and pay inequality issues as well as the environmental ones.
The goal is to one day have a reuse big box store with convenience that would rival traditional big box stores. A one-stop shop & drop would give customers the added benefit of dropping donation items on the same shopping trip! The Repurpose Project understands that convenience drives consumers; therefore, making it easy for consumers to purchase used instead of new is a priority. Eventually we would like to be located at a strip mall that pulls together independent reuse stores, making for a convenient reuse shopping experience.
The Repurpose Project is a non-profit community based effort to divert useful resources from the landfill, redirect these items to the public for art and education, inspire creativity, and help us all rethink what we throw away. The Repurpose Project is a 501(c) 3 tax-deductible non-profit organization located in Gainesville, Florida. The Repurpose Project has partnered with many local groups to help educate the public on waste reduction and improve landfill diversion in Alachua County. These groups include University of Florida staff and students, Santa Fe College staff and students, Shands Medical Plaza, high school and elementary teachers and students, and The City of Gainesville Public Works.