When the term “Recycling” is used, we generally think of plastics and aluminum being melted down and used to manufacture new items.  But let’s not forget that recycling is also cycling used items through new people making that item new....to them!


If you’ve ever shopped at stores such as Goodwill or other thrift stores or at a consignment store, you have essentially been part of a recycling process for those items. “The resale industry has grown by about 7 percent in the last two years. There are now about 30,000 resale, consignment and thrift stores operating in the United States, according to the National Association of Resale Professionals, or NART. Resale is a multi-billion-dollar-per-year industry. Don't believe it? Well, according to NART, Goodwill Industries alone generated $2.8 billion in retail sales from its 2,324 nonprofit thrift stores in 2009.”* These statistics are from a time directly following a huge economic downturn. Since then, these types of stores have only gained popularity.  


“Thrift stores likeGoodwill,Arc, and theSalvation Army are even starting to become viewed as competitors to retailers like Walmart, Kmart, Big Lots....As a result, these major thrift stores are revamping the look of their stores to create a better shopping experience - working to make cleaner, well lit and even smelling better!”***


Savers is a chain of thrift stores that was started in 1954 by a man named William O. Ellison. The first store to open was in San Francisco, California and the chain has expanded to include stores in other parts of the U.S., Canada and Australia. Each store is privately owned and has a local charity where it donates funds....“We have definitely seen an increase in both sales and traffic, especially among college and high school kids,” Steve Stark, store manager, said....Even with the increase in traffic and sales, they don’t sell everything they receive. Savers has a recycling program for extra merchandise. This program prevented 600 million pounds of unsold items from being thrown into landfills, according to its website (www.savers.com).”**


“Other savings options:


In addition to shopping resale, thrift, flea markets, garage sales, antiques stores and consignment stores, many home-decor consumers are also opting for reupholstering or repairing (sometimes as a DIY project) worn-out furniture.”*


Some groups collect clothing and household items, box them up, and pass them to a friend.  They then take out what they would like to wear or use, add more items to the box, and pass it to another group member. This process continues cycling around and around the group.  The groups usually grow, as do the number of items in an ever-growing box. This is especially popular with baby and toddler clothing.  Considering kids grow out of clothes so quickly, why shouldn’t several kids get good use out of an outfit?


Trading items is also a popular way to cycle different household or clothing items through your home.  Trading or borrowing let’s us change things up a little without hurting our pocketbooks. Who doesn’t love to try out different outfits all the time?


Whether you rebuild it, remake it, reupholster it, or regift it......recycle it. For more ideas or information on recycling, visit our website at www.wasteawaygroup.com


*http://www.cleveland.com/insideout/index.ssf/2011/06/shopping_resale_and_thrift_sto.html

**http://blogs.jccc.edu/campusledger/2013/04/04/thrift-stores-recycled-back-into-popularity/

***http://www.examiner.com/article/thrift-stores-gaining-popularity

****http://www.thethriftshopper.com/