What first comes to mind when you think of reuse stores? I know I think of cute clothes found at thrift stores and cool trinkets in the antique section. But there are actually so much more to reuse stores than a sustainable place to buy interesting items. Here are five things that you might not know about reuse stores in Tompkins County:
You won’t believe the number and diversity of reuse stores we have. There are over 45 reuse stores on the Reuse Trail itself in the Ithaca area. In addition to the usual things that you probably would think of when you think of reuse stores, like clothing, antiques, or books, you can also find building materials, sports equipment, or outdoor gear. The possibilities of what you can find are endless!
Ithaca is Reuse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 and 2017, Tompkins County had about two times more employees in used merchandise stores than the national average.
Reuse shopping is green. According to the EPA, industry makes up 22% of our greenhouse gas emissions, which accounts for everything from the burning of fossil fuels for energy to the chemical reactions necessary to produce goods from raw materials. By reusing goods, we can help reduce our environmental impact.
Secondhand shopping keeps money in the local economy. For example, Mama Goose, a secondhand store in Ithaca and a participating store in the reuse trail, reports that $84 out of every $100 spent at their store stays local, and that the staff is paid a living wage of $11.67 an hour or more. Furthermore, many of these stores, such as the Women’s Opportunity Center, Finger Lakes Reuse Center, and Significant Elements, are able to combine reuse and job training, furthering the economic impact on the Ithaca community.
Reuse is more than just buying goods from secondhand store. It’s also about borrowing and sharing. We can make an impact by going to the library, sharing bikes, using car sharing services, or just sharing with our friends or neighbors!
Don’t miss our 2nd annual Treasure Hunt on the Reuse Trail, beginning October 15 and running through November 15th. Play one of two games and win $50-$200 in gift cards from participating stores. The games are free and no purchase is necessary. Visit www.reusetrail.com to learn more.
(by Sarah Huang, GYGB intern)