Reuse & Recycle

Being mindful of what we no longer need or want plays a huge role in this dense city. Whether it’s green or blue recycling bins or a local swap meet, New Yorkers have a variety of options to watch their waste. Thankfully, many local organizations have stepped in to make reuse and recycling efforts more accessible and visible to NYC residents, artists, and nonprofits. We’ve compiled a list of just some of those organizations below. Take a look!


donateNYC helps New Yorkers give goods, find goods, and do good, with tools that make it easy to donate or find used materials. 

For Residents: 
Residents can use the donateNYC website to search for places to donate used items or find second-hand materials. Even more, the website allows you to itemize your search!

For Businesses & Nonprofits: 
The donateNYC Exchange connects businesses and nonprofits looking to donate or receive donated items. Organizations can get free, usable goods, while businesses can cut their waste, save on storage and disposal, and may benefit from tax deductions for their donations.

To browse the donateNYC Exchange, click here.

To participate in the Exchange, click here. 

Other Resources:
You can also find dates for upcoming Stop N’ Swaps around New York on the growNYC website as well as listings for job and volunteer opportunities.

Materials for the Arts

Materials for the Arts is a program of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from the Departments of Sanitation and Education. They collect a wide variety of reusable materials from businesses and individuals and make them available for free to nonprofits and civic organizations with arts programming and public schools.


Where can I pick up these materials? 
Recipients can schedule shopping appointments to visit the MFTA warehouse for supplies and obtain items through the online Direct Donations listing. There is no charge for any item obtained by a receipt through MFTA.

How do I know if I’m eligible to be a recipient?
Great question! You’re eligible to be a recipient if you are a:

    • Nonprofit art and/or cultural group with at least a two year history of significant arts programing
    • Public School
    • Social service, health, and environmental organization with an ongoing art program
    • Government agency
    • Individual artist working on a project in a public setting but must be fiscally sponsored by a non profit organization)

Then all you have to do  fill out the MFTA online application form.

What if I want to donate?
Materials for the Arts welcomes donations from both organizations and individuals. Just head to the MFTA donation page for an in-depth instructional guide on where and how to donate your reusable material.

Big Reuse

By salvaging usable items from demolition and remodel projects and reintroducing them to the market, Big Reuse takes a small step toward eliminating these significant environmental costs. Their goal is to demonstrate another option for materials diversion and hopefully inspire the city to require recycling and reuse for construction and demolition waste.


How do I know if I’m eligible to be a recipient?
Good news! Big Reuse serves everyone: renters “looking to creatively maximize their apartment space,” contractors, interior design professionals, etc. While materials at Big Reuse do come at cost, revenue from purchased materials go to the support of local environmental initiatives!

Sounds great! But, where can I find Big Reuse? 
Big Reuse has two locations: Astoria, Queens and Gowanus, Brooklyn. You can also check out their extensive online inventory!

How can I donate? What can I donate?
Donated materials can be dropped at both Big Reuse locations, 7 days a week, up to 30 minutes before closing. Pick up services are available Monday through Friday.

Click here to see the list of items Big Reuse can and cannot accept.

Wearable Collections

Wearable Collections is an NYC based company focused on keeping clothing, textiles and shoes out of landfills while generating funds for charity.


How do I donate to Wearable Collections?
You can drop off your reusable clothing, shoes, and textiles at the 26 greenmarket locations across NYC. There’s also a Wearable Collections drop off spot in Brooklyn!

What can I donate to Wearable Collections?
Wearable Collections accepts all used clean clothing, including shoes, sneakers and hats. They also accept household items such as linens, towels, handbags and belts. But keep in mind, your items must be reusable! Please only include gently used, undamaged, usable items.

Where does all the donated clothing go?  Is all the clothing recycled?
Wonderful questions! The Wearable Collections FAQ page has answers to both these questions and more. There’s even information on how to start a clothing recycling program in your building!


GrowNYC is a sustainability resource for New Yorkers; providing free tools and services that anyone can use in order to improve our city and environment. Its mission is to improve New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.


GrowNYC Programs 

    • Greenmarket – GrowNYC’s network of Greenmarket farmers markets, Youthmarkets, fresh food box pick-ups and Greenmarket Co. ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.
    • Recycle –  GrowNYC blankets the five boroughs with resources like textile and food scrap collection, Stop ‘N’ Swaps, and free training to make waste reduction easy for all.
    • Garden –  GrowNYC builds and supports community and school gardens through tool loans, volunteer days, technical assistance, training, school garden grants and more.
    • Education – GrowNYC fosters future environmental stewards by providing 30,000 children each year with programs that provide meaningful interactions with the natural environment.

You can find more information on GrowNYC’s programs by clicking the hyperlinks.

On the Horizon….

FAB would like to continue to do its part to support reuse, recycle, and sustainability efforts in the Lower East Side and across NYC. To start, we’ve partnered with Downtown Art and GrowNYC to host a neighborhood Stop N’ Swap on September 30th!

What’s a Stop N’ Swap?
A Stop N’ Swap is a free community reuse event funded by the NYC Department of Sanitation. Local residents are invited bring in items they no longer want (clothing, small housewares, books, toys, electronics, etc), and take things other people bring.

Stop N’ Swaps are FREE. And residents don’t need to bring something to take something!

At the end of the day, all leftover materials are sorted, donated, and recycled! The idea is to encourage reuse, build community, and divert good, reusable stuff that might otherwise end up in a landfill.

So, in essence..

Stop N’ Swap – Lower East Side
in partnership with GrowNYC & Downtown Art

Downtown Art rear yard (19 E. 3rd St.)

Saturday, September 30th.

See you there!

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