Workshop: making wooden bottle openers

Kids are reading less, people use e-books more, and libraries are scrambling for what to do about it.  One common solution is to close libraries and get rid of books (sound familiar Buffalo?).   Instead, one library in British Columbia is changing the way we think about libraries; they have a collection of “living books,” local experts, who have volunteered to share their knowledge on specific subjects.  Want to know about the history of the circus? Want to learn a certain painting technique?  “Check out” a living expert that will meet with you to discuss your topic of interest!  Libraries remain … Read more

From Stairs to Cabinets

A lot of conversation in the building material reuse industry is about closing loops.   Rather than having a start and a finish (as in, virgin forest to landfill), we like to see a material come full circle and reenter into use.  At Action HQ we are constantly receiving and processing materials and using our woodshop to try and find uses for them.  When we have a good idea or something turns out particularly well, we’d like to share with you the creations we come up with! The green demo crew took down a house in South Buffalo this past week … Read more

Harvesting Our City

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way ReUse Action acquires materials in Buffalo through green demos and salvage jobs and have come to the conclusion that what we are doing is much like mining for coal, only better.  What we are essentially doing is a more sustainable form of mining, in cities.  We are learning to use our city as an incredible and harvestable resource!  Harvesting material that is destined for a landfill, learning how to process it, reuse it and resell it.   We are “a community of tradesmen and women, artists, designers, and community members…” changing the … Read more

Featured Apprentice: Marcus

Our final feature on our most recent class of apprentices… Marcus is the younger brother of Cliff, one of ReUse Action’s full time employees.  Marcus came to us late, having worked a few weeks as an apprentice for Empire Building Diagnostics, the demolition group doing work on the upper floors of the hotel, but we’ve gotten to know him well. In the past 5+ years, Marcus has been through a lot—Hurricane Katrina wiped out all that was familiar, his child was born, he moved to Buffalo, etc. On many occasions he’s expressed his interest in finding a stable lifestyle, atmosphere … Read more

Featured Apprentice: Naya

Like gardening and weeding, de-tiling and sorting tiles are some of the best ways to get to know someone because of the hours spent with a repetitive task in good company.  Naya and I first bonded while sitting in a room sorting tiles as she told me her experiences as a black woman in construction.  Like Iris from our last group of apprentices (who just got a job at the snack shack, hooray!), Naya is the only woman in the current group. When I asked her why she was in construction and what she wanted to get out of it, … Read more

Featured Apprentice: Robert

I first met Robert several years ago, but now have had the pleasure to get to know him over the course of 15 weeks at the Hotel.  Fondly referred to as “google” by the crew, Robert is an amazing source of knowledge and meticulous to the core.  Because of his memory and his matter of fact attitude, the crew often turns to Robert to find out answers to the questions that come up in their conversations.  They also rely on him as master time keeper since both Michael and I are notorious workaholics and need to be told when it … Read more

Featured Apprentice: Kashawn

When filling out an application at CPG the other day, Kashawn turned to me and asked me what qualities he had and what he was good at. Yes, he has muscle and can lift just as consistently as the other crew members, but those are not the qualities that first strike me.  I replied: 1.”Your ability to see something’s wrong before it happens,” for it is often Kashawn who sees when a tub won’t fit through a doorway or if the pallet jack is cutting a corner too hard. 2. “You consistently show up to work.” This is one of … Read more

Featured Apprentice: Darell

Unlike Vern who is a big guy and at times seems to possess a superhuman strength, Darell is of smaller build.  Yet the crew calls Darell “Superman,” because what Darell doesn’t have in size, he makes up for in attitude.  There is no task too big, no tub too heavy, no pile of tile too high, and it amazes me how Darell’s faith in his ability to overcome and to get a task done makes him such a star apprentice. Here’s what Amanda, our green demo project manager, has to say about Darell: “Over the past couple of weeks I … Read more