Finger Lakes ReUse is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Ithaca, New York. Through various activities relating to 'ReUse', we strive to enhance Community, Economy and the Environment


Used materials are a Local Resource

Tons of building materials, computers, electronics, household goods, appliances, and furniture unnecessarily enter the landfill. Used materials – too often wasted – are assets with overlooked economic value. Finger Lakes ReUse taps this value to strengthen our economy, build community, and protect our environment by re-directing materials from the waste stream into productive new uses.

Finger Lakes ReUse operates a community-oriented warehouse, shopping, and educational center where the maximum reuse of materials is a priority; where safety, cleanliness, customer service, good business, education, and creativity are stressed; where living wage jobs are created and supported; where mentoring opportunities are available; and where education in the skills of repair and reuse is offered. Our aim is for everyone in the community to enjoy and partake in the services offered by Finger Lakes ReUse and, in time, to also assist other communities in the region to develop reuse services.

Mission Statement

Enhancing Community, Economy and Environment through ReUse

At the ReUse Center, you can find answers to technical questions and discuss creative reuse solutions with other shoppers, employees, and volunteers. Finger Lakes ReUse fosters civic involvement through its volunteer opportunities and educational programs. Classes on topics ranging from the technical (How to Rebuild Your Computer) to the creative (From Junk to Joy) will draw on the talents of community members and offer inspiration and instruction promoting personal growth and skills development for all. Finger Lakes ReUse also fills a unique niche that complements and enhances human service programs. The ReUse Center supplies non-profit organizations and educational institutions with affordable or free materials for their offices, programs, and clients. Finger Lakes ReUse will also collaborate with human services agencies, educational institutions, trade unions, local government, and existing reuse programs to provide new training opportunities for their students, apprentices, and clients. At the ReUse Center, underserved members of our community are finding an open and welcoming environment where they can learn job skills, take and share responsibility, be part of a team, undertake challenges, and receive recognition for their accomplishments. Finger Lakes ReUse is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our public documents are available here.

In Tompkins County, 17.6% of the population lives below the Federal Poverty Level. Residents earn a median household income of $37,272 (1999), a figure 16% lower than the state average and 13% lower than the nation as a whole. In addition to providing quality goods at affordable prices or in exchange for volunteer labor, Finger Lakes ReUse is creating jobs and providing skills training to move people out of poverty and into work that pays a living wage. Finger Lakes ReUse has created 14 entry level and career employment opportunities in its first five years of operation and will be continuing to add positions as we grow. A core program is deconstruction – the systematic disassembly of buildings by hand to salvage the materials. Across the U.S., deconstruction is emerging as an economically viable alternative to demolition that saves natural resources, reduces waste, and creates jobs. Workers trained in deconstruction develop marketable, specialized skills in the construction trades in addition to basic competencies, such as decision-making skills and the ability to work on a team. Deconstruction, repair, and other reuse services provide excellent opportunities to train skilled labor, thereby enhancing the local workforce and economy.

In 1995, Tompkins County made a commitment to develop a ReUse Center as part of its 20-Year Solid Waste Management Plan. Having reduced waste by 58% after 12 years of implementing other plan components, Tompkins County Solid Waste Management Division views reuse as the most efficient, economic, and environmentally friendly way to reduce the waste stream further. As we grow, Finger Lakes ReUse will be annually diverting from the waste stream hundreds of tons of materials related to construction, computers, electronics, household goods, sporting equipment, textiles, and furniture.