Last Saturday the City of Austin Zero Waste Block Leaders were offered the opportunity to tour behind the scenes at Austin Creative Reuse, is a local Austin nonprofit who operates a creative reuse center in the Windsor Park neighborhood of East Austin, where they sell gently used creative materials donated from individuals and businesses at an affordable price. Austin Creative Reuse has craft supplies, sewing, knitting, school and office supplies, and any kind of object you want to be creative with, there’s puzzles, books, just anything that can entertain you. They also host workshops and other community events!
The Zero Waste Block Leaders brought in 18 pounds of donations the day of our tour. I had two bags myself. Everything that comes into Austin Creative Reuse is weighed, and redistributions and trash are weighed as well.
Items are marked 20-40% of retails prices. Most items I have picked up are between $0.10 – $0.25.
I learned from Bea Johnson at Zero Waste Home to always have lists going for items I want or need so when the secondhand opportunity comes up I’m ready. I have little lists in my purse to add to and shop when I’m out. I had a meeting this morning at the library down the road from Austin Creative Reuse so I was able to pop by for my second list. I had a lot of meetings this week and needed to stock up on supplies as a result. I love this especially for markers, crayons and pencils because my son and I both favor red and go through a lot of them. It’s great if you just need to replace one or a few colors.
97% of the material Austin Creative Reuse receives is able to be redistributed into a second use. That means only 3% of what they receive is too damaged and sent to the landfill. What isn’t sold in Austin Creative Reuse that may be more appropriate at another organization is diverted to other reuse and recycling efforts in Austin like local thrift stores, the Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore and the Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center.
I immediately came home and did a bit of creative reuse with stickers on this covered notepad. I don’t support item branding and I’m going to be using this on my zero waste tables to take notes, questions and contact information at events.
Fabric is the most donated as well as the most purchased item. This is the back area where all the fabric items are measure, bundled and priced for the front.
80% of their budget comes from sales. The rest are provided by grants and community donations.
These are their classroom for camps and birthday parties, the big sorting room, and the bucket area.
The Bucket Area is where you really get to be imaginative. Here items that are a bit older, branded, worn, and such encourage you to be your most creative. Items in this area that may be harder to move become part of a Reuse & [Re]Think Contest. Austin Creative Reuse provides the material for inspiration and use, and submitters share their creations for a chance to win an ACR gift card.
The mural below is so cool we all took pictures and I want to share. This mural is a 500 lb. family image made completely of crayons. It took 5 people to move it.
Creative Reuse Center
2005 Wheless Lane
Austin, Texas 78723
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Austin Creative Reuse: School Supplies, Crafts & Hobbies (their original location)