Shop Local: The Scrap Exchange

June 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm (The Road Less Traveled)

I am often asked, “where do you get your objects?” I get many of my found objects from flea markets, auctions, and friends. Some of my most recent acquisitions, however, came from The Scrap Exchange, a creative reuse store in Durham.

According to The Scrap Exchange website, its mission is to promote creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse. Since 1991, The Scrap Exchange has been collecting industrial discards and distributing these reclaimed materials through its retail store, community events, parties and workshops.

Patterned after The Reverse Garbage Truck, located in Australia, The Scrap Exchange is one of about 40 creative reuse organizations in the United States.

Materials can be purchased by the piece, by the bag, or online. Mixed bags filled with as much as you can stuff inside sell for $3.50 for a mini bag to up to $15.00 for a large bag. Last time I was there, I filled up a mini bag with game pieces, bottle tops, fabric scraps, bobbins, empty film canisters, computer keys, and plastic tubing.

“To make saleable products from reused items, people have to be very clever, because they need to be able to repeat or manufacture the item,” says Mary-Jean Newton, the co-founder of MAD (Making a Difference), an offshoot of Reverse Garbage. “If it has a function, people who normally wouldn’t buy art or design have another reason to buy it. And if it’s helping the environment, people will remember how important their consumer choices are.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]

In this video, The Scrap Exchange Executive Director Ann Woodward discusses the importance of creative reuse in our community.

The Scrap Exchange is open seven days a week and is located at 548 Foster Street in Durham, NC. For more information call (919) 688-6960. See you there!

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