New York City is focusing on reuse as part of its efforts to increase diversion from incineration and landfill. Reuse is the most labor intensive of all recycling activities. It adds value to products that can be reused and/or repaired and then sold as products not materials. Added value allows for good green jobs throughout the local economy. The re introduction of used products into the local economy also reduces the cost of goods to low income residents and the organizations that serve them through thrift store networks. Reuse and repair enterprises provide excellent opportunities for the hard to employ to acquire skill training and employment at living wage jobs.
New York City estimates that as much as 10% of the waste stream can be recovered as reused products. See, http://www.wastedive.com/news/
New Jersey has become the 12th state to consider ‘fair repair’ legislation that would make it easier for consumers to fix their gadgets and businesses to repair their equipment. New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty has introduced the Fair Repair Bill that would that would require electronics manufacturers to sell replacement parts and tools to the general public and independent repair companies. It would also require them to make repair guides publicly available.
The bill will certainly face a legislative battle as the ‘Tech lobby’ has killed right to repair legislation in Nebraska and Minnesota, and records show that Apple, IBM, Verizon, and industry trade groups have heavily stepped up their lobbying spending in New York. See, motherboard.vice.com/en_us/
For more detailed information about the reuse/repair sector of the discard stream contact Mary Ellen Etienne at the Reuse International (formerly Reuse Institute) which maintains an active training program. See, reuseinstitute.org/.
There are several excellent community based model enterprises throughout the US. These include: Saint Vincent De Paul of Lane County, OR, Eugene, OR (svdp.us),Second Chance, Baltimore,MD (secondchanceinc.org), The Reuse People, Oakland, CA (trp.org), and The Rebuilding Center, Portland OR, (thebuildingcenter.org).
Photo Credit: Max Pixel (CC0)