NYCM Shares Tips on How to Reuse with Arc Otsego - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Nov 15, 2023

NYCM Shares Tips on How to Reuse with Arc Otsego

Did you know November 15 is America Recycles Day? Every year in November, we are given the opportunity to take a step back and reflect on our relationship with the planet. It’s a chance for us to consider our own personal impact on the environment as well as our collective impact as a species, and whether we are on a trajectory that’s sustainable for the Earth that provides us with the conditions we need to survive.

For many people America Recycles Day is an annual reminder of the importance of recycling the plastic, cardboard, aluminum, and polystyrene in which our foods and drinks are packaged. But what about some of the other byproducts of our lives that can’t be taken to a can redemption center at the supermarket?

To celebrate America Recycles Day, we wanted to give a shout-out to our friends at the Arc Otsego ReUse Center for the important work they do in removing some of our would-be trash from the waste stream. The ReUse Center collects a variety of hard furniture, wood, extra building materials, and various household items, and then offers it back to the community at an affordable price. The center also accepts and recycles polystyrene, increasing recycling options in the Oneonta area. Continue reading to learn about the importance of limiting our waste and reusing where possible!

Why Is it Important to Reuse and Upcycle?

In 2018, the United States produced 292.4 million tons of garbage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Of that amount, about 70 million tons was recycled, 25 million tons was composted, and more than 146 million tons of garbage was sent to the nation’s landfills.

From a consumer’s perspective, we may not think too much about what happens to an item when we throw it out. We purchase something, we use it, we take it out with the trash, and as far as we’re concerned once the garbage truck hauls it away, it ceases to exist. But unfortunately this is not the case; when something is manufactured, unless it is recyclable or biodegradable, it’s here on Earth to stay.

That’s where reusing and upcycling comes in! We’ve all heard the phrase “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and in today’s world where there is so much stuff, you don’t need to look any further than your own community to find your next project or opportunity to donate.

“Our mission at NYCM Insurance has always been to protect what matters most to you,” said NYCM Insurance Senior Vice President of Customer Relations Management Jeremy Robinson. “On America Recycles Day, we’re all thinking about what steps we can take to protect our planet and promote a sustainable future for our children. We’re proud of our green initiatives at NYCM, including paperless billing and paid volunteer time allowing employees to give back to the Earth and their communities, and are further inspired by the work our partners at the Arc Otsego ReUse Center are doing. As we continue to explore different ways to take care of our planet, we’re grateful to have organizations like the Arc Otsego ReUse Center by our side.”

What Is the Arc Otsego ReUse Center?

The ReUse Center was opened in 2017 in Oneonta, NY by Arc Otsego with the mission to collect usable items destined for a landfill and offer them to people in the community at an affordable price. Since its inception the ReUse Center has kept over 3 million pounds of reusable items out of landfills and has recycled more than 20,000 pounds of polystyrene.

“The Otsego ReUse Center is a project of The Arc Otsego,” said Faith Tiemann, Chief Marketing Officer of The Arc Otsego. “In addition to all we do there to reduce our impact on the environment, we also employ individuals with disabilities, and all proceeds from the Otsego ReUse Center help to meet the mission of The Arc Otsego, which is to provide supports, services and advocacy to assist individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to live rich, fulfilling lives.”

The ReUse Center accepts a variety of used items including solid wood furniture, doors and door hardware, cabinet sets and hardware, tools, glass, lighting, solid wood and laminate flooring, electrical parts, bath and plumbing fixtures, metal roofing, and more. They do not accept all items—for instance upholstered furniture, combustibles, appliances, or electronics will not be accepted. For a complete list of items the ReUse Center accepts, click here.

By collecting items that still have some life left in them and offering them to members of the community, the ReUse Center is taking tangible steps to reduce the amount of waste entering the local landfills. In addition to being a collection center, the ReUse Center is also a thrifty store providing affordable and useful items to people in need. The items sold by the ReUse Center are not always used; local businesses donate new furniture and carpets to the center to be sold to the community at a fraction of their original cost.

How Can You ReUse?

There are many ways to reduce your waste in addition to the services offered by the ReUse Center. You can start by trying to buy used goods where you can, like at thrift stores or garage sales. Sometimes all an item needs is a little bit of tender loving care to begin its second wind as something new or return to its former glory.

You can also reuse by thinking twice before throwing something out. While there’s something to be said for going out with the old and in with the new, in some cases our possessions still have some life left in them or can be repurposed when they may appear to be at the end of the line. Before you throw something out, remind yourself that once it’s taken away in the trash, it will likely end up in a landfill somewhere forever. Try to minimize your impact where you can.

While America Recycles Day provides us with a formal opportunity to consider our relationship with the planet, understanding and reducing your impact on the environment should be a year-long consideration. Continue reading for our guide on how to find pieces to upcycle as another way to reduce your waste!