ReStore Redux

By Stephen Salvitti

Working with Lancaster’s local Habitat For Humanity ReStore has been a great experience. Tim Hellberg, the store manager, has been helpful, not only in providing me with the information I need on sustainability, but in opening my eyes to see how much people consume on a daily basis and the adverse effects it has on our environment. We had a great conversation during our first meeting about how society can cut back on waste through the concept of reuse. We discussed how the role of corporations that manufacture and sell products are partly to blame for people not being concerned with efficiency and prolonging the life of their products.  Obviously, companies want people to continue to buy their products; they benefit every time someone decides to simply throw away their old product and head off to the department store to buy a brand new one. It’s almost a cultural norm to do this. Luckily, there are organizations all over to spread the news about reusing and repurposing materials. And the Lancaster ReStore is there to take all your old materials off your hands! They accept:

  • Furniture
  • Cabinets
  • Lumber
  • Lighting equipment
  • Plumbing materials
  • Office chairs
  • And much more!

Next time you go to throw out that old piece of furniture, call the ReStore and you’ll be cutting waste in addition to helping Habitat For Humanity build energy efficient homes in your neighborhood!

As I was doing research on reuse centers, I found that the great thing about them is that they’re sustained locally, not globally like corporations. Individuals in the community are the ones donating as well as purchasing. Going into this project, I originally saw ReStore as the type of place solely for contractors or “do-it-yourself” kind of people. Not true at all! Community buildings from churches to small businesses to individual homeowners can all benefit. Just the other day the Lancaster ReStore received a barely used washing machine from a Millersville resident and before they could take it off the dolly another customer told them to turn it right around and wheel it back to the register. So if you’re looking to purchase some furniture or building materials, I would highly recommend checking out the ReStore. If your still unsure, I came up with a list of 5 excellent reasons to use your local ReStore:

  1. Cash in your pocket. New items are usually 50% off retail value while used items are 50%-75% off.
  2. Donations are tax deductible. Even more cash in your pocket.
  3. ReStore profits are invested straight back into your community. ReStore is a not-for-profit organization. All profits made go to the ReStore’s mother organization, Habitat For Humanity, and assist in building energy efficient homes for low-income families in the Lancaster Area. That means you are helping a family as well as the environment by purchasing products from ReStore.
  4. Reduces landfill waste. By repurposing an item, you eliminate your “would-be” trash that would end up in a landfill close to your community.
  5. Reduces consumption. By repurposing, you eradicate the need for manufacturing companies to produce that brand new product you would have bought at the department store.

Researching these benefits makes me realize just how much a single person can assist with the sustainability movement. Often we think that reducing our own carbon footprint (only one of Earth’s billions of inhabitants) does not make a difference, but this information along with some other statistics I got from Time Hellberg have forced me towards a paradigm shift in regards to recognizing the power a single person has in helping their environment and community. It is my hope that others appreciate their potential role in this as well.