Federico, Yuki and I got together to discuss some possibilities for a project that we’ve discussed before: a space for scavengers. Right now, this is just an idea that we’re kicking around, but we’re hoping that it will become a real place… soon.
Here’s what it might look like: a storefront which displays all sorts of materials that would have gone to a landfill had we not diverted them. It could include: fabric, clothing, buttons, boards, paper, office supplies, some electronics, art supplies… you name it. Items are very cheap, sometimes free – probably sold by the pound or by the bag. Volunteers help accept, sort and catalog donations. Workshops are held that get people’s creativity flowing.
How it might work: the space could be run by volunteers and/or a few paid staff. It might be a non-profit, a cooperative, a business, or some other kind of structure. It seems like it can make enough money to run itself, with all the materials that will be donated at no cost, then selling items will bring in some funds.
Where it would be: there’s a need for some kind of storefront somewhere. We’re thinking it would be relatively close to the L.A. Eco-Village. Perhaps in one of the vacant storefronts at a nearby strip mall. Ultimately it might also incorporate some outdoor space, where we could store and distribute mulch, urbanite, compost, etc.
What people do elsewhere: Here are some links to some similar sites (definitely not an exhaustive list!) We don’t want to necessarily copy or compete with or franchise these… but they give some ideas as to what the space might resemble. We can draw inspiration and ideas from them:
Bike Cooperatives – all over!
The Bike Kitchen (which started in the kitchen of unit 110 at L.A. Eco-Village), BikeRoWave, and the Bike Oven are examples of community spaces where folks learn to repair bicycles – often giving new life to old parts from donated discarded bikes.
The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse – Oakland, CA
EBDfCR promotes solid waste diversion and resource conservation by collecting and redistributing reusable materials for education, arts & crafts, and other creative projects.
Free Geek – Portland, OR (and other locations)
Free Geek recycles and refurbishes used technology. They provide computers, education, and job skills training to volunteers in exchange for their service.
A local space modeled after San Francisco’s SCRAP and the East Bay Depot for creative ReUse in Oakland. We sure owe them a visit.
Ohmega Salvage – Berkeley, CA
Ohmega Salvage buys and sells unusual building materials, in order to preserve architectural heritage.
Rebuilding Center – Portland, OR
The Rebuilding Center sells used building and remodeling materials and furniture. It provides resources that make home repairs affordable to everyone, with the goal of promoting reuse.
The RE Store – Seattle and Bellingham, WA
The RE Store sells used building materials, and provides mobile removal services.
SCRAP (the School and Community Reuse Action Project) – Portland, OR
This SCRAP inspires creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior by providing educational programs and affordable materials.
SCRAP (Scroungers Center for Reusable Art Parts) – San Francisco, CA
This SCRAP is a creative reuse center, store and workshop space. They work with textiles, paper, jewelry findings, wood, buttons and plastics.
Tinker’s Workshop – Berkeley, CA
Tinker’s Workshop educates people on repairing and creating tools, bikes, and machines.
Urban Ore – Berkeley, CA
Urban Ore works to end the age of waste by advocating and developing total recycling. They receive unwanted things and sell them as-is for reuse.
How you can help: If you’ve read this far, maybe you’re interested in getting involved? We’re looking for a few intrepid souls to help get this thing off the ground… though we do want to work in a collective, non-hierarchical way as much as possible. If you’re interested, make a comment below.
(Note: though it lists Joe as the author, this entry was a collaboration between Federico, Yuki, and Joe.)