Just because you're not using something doesn't mean it's trash. That's the message ReBuilders Source wants you to hear. VJ Movement went to the worker-owned and operated home improvement store in the Bronx, which takes items that would otherwise be classified as trash and gives it new life, reselling the items to people in the community at a lower price. It's incredible to see what types of materials end up at their store, many of which are in near-perfect condition and are not what comes to mind when you think of waste-- cabinets, washing machines, light fixtures, carpets, and the list goes on.
ReBuilders Source opened in 2008 as the first initiative sponsored by Green Worker Cooperatives, a nonprofit that focuses on creating worker-owned, environmentally-sustainable businesses in the Bronx.
"The South Bronx has been a dumping ground for decades now for all the stuff that nobody else wants," Omar Freilla, executive director of Green Worker Cooperatives, told VJ Movement. "But it's an area that people live in."
According to VJ Movement, the South Bronx neighborhood handles nearly a third of New York City's solid waste, 40 percent of which comes out of Manhattan, the city's smallest borough. This is partly because the neighborhood's poverty level doesn't give them them the lobbying power to oppose waste coming to die where they live.
Unfortunately, the sustainable business planned to close its doors at the end of May because it wasn't profitable enough, VJ Movement said. According to the report, part of the reason for the company's failure is the very problem they set out to address. LISTEN to their story: