A group based in Queens and Brooklyn is trying to salvage everyday items that are usually tossed curbside so they can be reused. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
Inside a warehouse in Astoria, what could have been thrown into a dump somewhere is instead ready to have a new life.
"We have customers who come by every week especially when they are doing renovations to see what we have because our inventory is constantly changing you never know what we are going to have," said BIG! NYC Program Director and Founder Justin Green.
Build it Green NYC or BIG! NYC as it is known started in 2004 under the auspices of the Community Environmental Center. The group accepts donations of reusable building materials like doors and appliances and resells them at 40 to 80 percent off regular retail prices. The goal is to keep the materials out of landfills.
"As an environmental group we feel like it's really important to demonstrate the value of the materials, all of the really nice cabinets and the nice appliances, nice doors, that otherwise would be thrown out, and hopefully inspire all of New York City to do a better job in recycling their construction and demolition waste," Green said.
BIG! NYC has grown from just Green working in the warehouse to 30 employees at its Queens location and another in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The warehouse hosts a green job training program for the construction trades. There is also a program called Big Blooms, where wood used in scaffolding around the city is donated and put to use in community and school gardens around the five boroughs like the DB Co-op in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
"They can repurpose it as a material to build raised garden beds, benches, sometimes little platforms, and we also sell some of the material because there are a lot of folks in New York who want to build their own bookshelf with weathered lumber," said BIG! NYC Communications Manager Jaclyn Jablkowski.
BIG! NYC is working on building a mill to cut some of the larger pieces of wood into smaller ones. They also have a compost program using donated food scraps which are used in community gardens and on street trees.
For more information, visit bignyc.org.