Building With the Future in Mind Since 1955

Rick Dubrow’s “On The Level” Column in the Cascadia Weekly; Published 8-8-07

 The cherry tree, in its attempt to produce another cherry tree, creates thousands of seeds.  At first glance this sounds inefficient and wasteful, but not if you take into account the fact that the ‘extra’, ‘wasteful’ seeds become food for other organisms in the web of life.  Waste is food.  While seemingly inefficient, Mother Nature is very effective.

Duane Jager has taken this to heart.  “We are constipating nature……” by clogging our landfills with our waste instead of turning it into food.  Follow his lead and the very concept of waste is obscene.

In this particular case he’s talking about appliances.  Since opening ReUse Works in 2005, he and his team have saved over 700 appliances for reuse.  “We are the tip of the iceberg”, says Jager. ”There’s so much more that needs to be recovered from the waste stream. Our discards are as much a local resource as water, farmlands, fish and forest.”

Just how big is the appliance iceberg?  More than 27,000 appliances are destroyed every year inWhatcomCountywithout first being assessed for reuse potential.  Twenty seven thousand.

Consider the ReUse Works’ alternative the next time you need to purchase, or dispose of, an appliance.  Terminate the obscene and make waste into food.

Even if you can afford to buy a new appliance, consider the option:  buy used.  I see this happen each and every day in our community.  Shoppers at places like the RE Store and Value Village include so many folks who need not be there; they can afford to spend more; they can afford to buy something new. Instead, they pluck their dollars down in support of the reduce/reuse/recycle mantra we so desperately need to prevail.

Duane’s team repairs and sells donated washers, dryers, ranges, fridges and freezers.  You’ll find ReUse Works at 802 Marine Drive(phone 360.527.2646; FAX 360.527.2649; email; website  They accept unwanted home appliances, working or not.  You can drop your items there and they’ll even schedule a pickup from your home.  After testing and repair, if needed, appliances are cleaned and sold with a 90 day warranty.  Appliances that can not be cost-effectively repaired are stripped for reusable parts and then recycled.  And, of course, they recycle the Freon from the refrigeration units.

There’s another piece to this local gem of an organization:  sales revenues support their job training program by partnering with the Community Jobs Program.  Your decision to donate an appliance, or purchase a refurbished unit, supports on the job training in shipping, receiving, repair, maintenance, cleaning, material handling and sales.

Stop by ReUse Works and Duane will tell you that “….unwanted materials are simply resources that are out of place.  We must find their place, using as little energy as possible………. recycling is not enough.  Consider the recycling costs when you ship recyclables like appliances out of the area, use energy to melt them down, use energy to re-manufacture a new product, use virgin materials for new products, and then ship those products back intoWhatcomCounty.”

Whether you donate an appliance at Re Use Works to keep it out of the landfill, or purchase a used appliance to extend its service life, you successfully erase a portion of your ecological footprint.  And you also shrink your spending.  At $79 and up, a Re Use Works’ appliance will stretch your hard earned money and this, too, is a good thing.

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