"One's Trash is Another's Treasure"


This flower was made from reams of old tissue paper at the Materials Exchange. This is so much more fun than letting it rot in a dump. You could make giant-size flowers for a party, create a fun kids’ project (create a land of tissue paper!) or use it to wrap gifts.

Are you adding to your home, or do you like fun projects? Are you an artist who is always looking for materials to work with, someone who just likes to scavenge, or an underfunded teacher? Any of the above people would appreciate the Hudson Valley Materials Exchange. It’s kinda like Freecycling (for those who don’t know what that is, read up here!) but in this case, there’s a permanent home for all sorts of unused, unloved, but really interesting stuff. And it’s not exactly free, but it’s really, really cheap. And some of it IS free.

The idea is that commercial lots are taken here instead of the landfill. So when a kitchen gets ripped apart, or a deck taken out, or when stores are cleaning out their inventory, it goes to the Materials Exchange.

There’s lots of building materials (like decking,windows and doors) but there’s also art supplies (like tubes, file cabinets, cardboard boxes, picture frame molding and lots of paint) and random stuff. I found carbonate rings that you can make mobiles out of, or wear as bracelets! You can search to find if there’s one near you; this Exchange is located in the Hudson Valley near Stewart airport- a day trip from NYC, convenient to Westchester and Fairfield Counties.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.