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Finger Lakes ReUse Center

Antonio Saporito

The Finger Lakes ReUse Center off of Triphammer Road is a thrifters’ dream, as well as a wonderful place to do service. Only as far as Target in Lansing, it is easily accessible by bus or car. Mountains of unwanted, yet useful and interesting items surround the nonprofit, carrying out the store’s mission to reduce the amount of waste in landfills by allowing people to reuse the products.

Volunteers sort through donated items, labeling them with tags and sorting them on the shelves. Bins and bins are lined up, as well as a huge stockroom in the back filled with donations that are waiting for you to sort through. Anything from grills, to washers, couches, photos, ornaments, puzzles, plates, mugs, and everything in between are placed on the shelves by the volunteer. Often times you might find yourself helping customers find items, or getting lost in the rows and rows of knick-knacks with such history.

It is truly amazing what people have used in the past, but no longer have a use for. Every design, scratch, or marking on the item tells a different story. I enjoyed the experience because of the friendly staff the store’s playlist, and because I volunteered with other brothers. Jessica is in charge of the store, and I was able to have a pleasant conversation about the store, its journey from start to now, and about her life in Ithaca, making it a very friendly environment. Furthermore, I enjoy alternative and 2000s hits, which usually plays through the store speakers.

I would recommend this event to any brother because you are able to see the direct impact of your work. All of the stuff that is being sorted through would end up in a landfill or in the ocean somewhere; however, it’s in your hands and being given another chance to find use in this world. You allow for someone else to find meaning in what was destined to be trash. Our help with this project enables the Ithaca community to find useful and well-kept items (lots of items that we have gone through have never been opened/used) for later use as well as for a bargain price. It gives meaning to the old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, and fits in with our goal of sustainability.