The Scrap Exchange

The Scrap Exchange is an award winning non-profit 501(c)(3) organization started in 1991 that collects and distributes materials for reuse from individuals, business, and municipal sources. The material resources are then used in upcycled products, art, and projects in classrooms and local businesses and households. The 22,000 sq. ft. creative reuse center sells materials at their store located in Durham, North Carolina and draws over 100,000 visitors annually from the entire southeast region. Materials can be anything from fabric, plastics, zippers, cones, tubes, office supplies, electronics, metal, wood and paint. These materials are sold in their store and also used for hands on creative programming for workshops, classes, art exhibits, and parties held on and offsite throughout the Southeast. The Scrap Exchange’s mission is to promote creativity, environmental awareness and community through reuse. The organization has a collection service and processes over 1600 drop off donations annually. The organization is generally 90% self-sufficient through earned income and the other 10% come from donations and grants. The organization collects approximately 40 tons of material a year from over 165 businesses.

Triangle Ecycling

Triangle Ecycling is a company that makes use of e-waste in order to fuel education. Founder Larry Herst works to refurbish and recycle computers and e-waste in a secure and ethical manner where all hard-drives are wiped and electronic waste is processed by R2 Certified Global Electric Electronic Processing in Durham, North Carolina. 10% of the company’s profits are contributed to Durham Public Schools to support sustainability education.  Through the company’s E-Scholar Program, it provides hands-on STEM education training and Public School students learn how to repair computers at no cost to them. These refurbished computers are then provided for someone in need or sold to help bridge the digital divide and support the internship program. Students in the program learn a valuable vocational skill and get mentoring all funded with e-waste rather than money.

ReUse Warehouse

The ReUse Warehouse is an organization based in Durham, North Carolina that works to salvage construction materials and resell them to prevent them from just being tossed away in a landfill. The organization does site clean-up, recycling of materials, and deconstruction. They also sell inventory at their store location in Durham. These goods are either salvaged items from construction jobs, including older woods and materials no longer sold, or surplus items from wholesalers and contractors. The organization has reported percentages of home demolition materials being diverted from the landfill as high as 90%. The organization also works with a ministry called New Beginnings, a group that helps second-chance employees find work and employment.

Mattress-Go-Round

Mattress-Go-Round is a company based in Greensboro, North Carolina that makes it a mission to recycle mattresses and all their components: metal springs, foam, and wooden frames. By the company’s estimates, North Carolinians throw away 770, 000 mattresses per year and those mattresses take up landfill space since they cannot be compacted due to their metal springs. By recycling thousands of mattresses every year, Mattress-Go-Round saves valuable space in landfills and creates a unique and recycled product. Mattress-Go-Rounds serves college campuses and hotels in several states, saving thousands of mattresses from the landfill each year. The metal springs are fired through a furnace for reuse or melted down and sold to steel companies, the wood is made into mulch, and cotton and fiber are sold to carpet companies for padding. The company also employs second-chance employees and gives them a new start in the workforce.