Re-Use Center helps keep items out of area landfills

June 16, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Spreading the word about a great way to recycle is on his to-do list, said Bill Pechumer, coordinator for the Morgan County Solid Waste Authority, and beginning Saturday he will make more people aware of the Tri-State Re-Use Center in Hancock.

Pechumer said he will begin distributing the center's handbill to those who bring their recyclables to Morgan County recycling sites.

The handbill lists types of items available for purchase, prices and the center's hours of operation and is a good reference sheet to keep handy, he said.

The Tri-State Re-Use Center accepts new and used building materials including doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, flooring, paint and electrical supplies and hardware, said Hope Cucina-Hargett, director of the center.

"People who participate in the Morgan County recycling program will be interested in learning about what's available at the Re-Use Center," Pechumer said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than buying from home improvement stores, and it keeps reusable items out of the landfill, which fills up way too quickly each month," he said.


The center is good for everyone in the Tri-State area, Cucina-Hargett said. "People can donate their reusable items and they are keeping the items out of the landfills, and those who need the items can find them here at a fraction of the cost. It's a win-win," she said.

The center collects a small handling fee for the purchase of the re-use items, which is about 10 to 25 percent of the retail cost of the items sold, and the money earned pays for the center's small forklift and its upkeep.

"This is the first year the center is self-supporting. We no longer need to rely on grants," she said.

The Tri-State Re-Use Center has been open for more than seven years and it has grown, she said. About 700 people are center members, Cucina-Hargett said.

The center is looking for more members from the entire Tri-State area.

"As far as I know, the re-use center in Hagerstown has been closed for more than one year, and we would welcome anyone in the area to participate," she said.

"We need everyone to make this work, either by contributing their reusable items or by shopping here first to purchase needed items," Cucina-Hargett said. She said the center is open to everyone, not only low-income families.

"We have a very high number of seniors that donate and purchase reusable items, I think because they lived through a period when being frugal was necessary," she said.

"People do not need to call us in advance to donate items. We do not accept furniture or household items found in thrift stores. We are always seeking volunteer help," she said.

The center has "specials," she said. "In the spring, we offer paint and paint supply specials, we give a 50 percent off the price on all purchases made in August and January, and in September we reduce the cost for weatherizing materials to ready the home for the winter months." The items' costs are substantially reduced, she said.

"We donate needed items to other nonprofit organizations," she said. In 2002, the center donated weatherizing materials to the families participating in RESA VIII's Head Start program in Berkeley Springs. Cucina-Hargett said each family received water heater insulation, caulk and caulking guns, and weather stripping for windows and doors.

"Our message to all the Tri-State area is that you can save natural resources, money, time, and most importantly, landfill space," she said.

"This is a good example of a large area networking and exchanging resources," she said.

Cucina-Hargett moved to Hancock from the Baltimore area, where she was the executive director at The Loading Dock, a re-use center there.

If you go: 

Tri-State Re-Use Center

Address: 225 West Main St., Hancock, Md. (Md. 144) across from Widmeyer Memorial Park 

Hours: Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; or by appointment by calling 301-678-6160

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