ReuseFest Wants Your Gently Used Items

Jun 12, 2015

Those crutches that you still have from when you broke your ankle 10 years ago. The bike your kids never ride anymore. Even your old VHS tapes.

These are a few of the donations you can make at the Pennsylvania Resources Council’s fourth annual “ReuseFest” this Saturday, June 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UPMC Passavant in the North Hills.

ReuseFest will feature eight local nonprofit organizations that will be taking donations, including Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center, Construction Junction, Off the Floor Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Gives Back and Goodwill.

The ReuseFest is similar to the PRC’s Hard to Recycle events throughout the year that encourage people to come and recycle items such as computers or kitchen appliances. Both events aim to divert materials from landfills. However, “reuse” has a slightly different meaning than “recycle,” according to Sarah Alessio Shea, environmental education coordinator for the PRC.

“When you look at ReuseFest, we’re really looking at organizations that are collecting materials and they’re not looking to change the material in any way, they’re really just looking to give that material a second life,” Shea said.

Each nonprofit takes its own specific types of donations. For example, the Animal Rescue League will take pet leashes and toys, and the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse will take arts and crafts donations. The full list of nonprofits and items eligible for donation can be found on the PRC’s website.

“Really the key is just that we’re looking for gently used items from folks so that those organizations can take them and really provide them and give them to the people that need them in this region,” Shea said.

PRC volunteers as well as members of the nonprofits will help participants unload their donations at the event. The volunteers will then work with the nonprofits to sort and distribute the goods to the appropriate organization based on their needs.

“So we work with the nonprofits to really look for finding what they need and making sure that we’re providing them with material that’s beneficial to their mission,” Shea said.

Though the main goal is to collect reusable materials, the ReuseFest is also a way to expose the community to local nonprofits.

“One great thing about these organizations is they take material all year round,” Shea said. “This is just kind of a one stop, one day to really highlight these organizations, the good work they do, what they accept, with the hope then that maybe some people who hear about the event, or even participate in the event, they might make some long-term connections with these organizations.”