Western New York's Largest Supplier of Reclaimed & Surplus Building Material

People ask us . . . Why Do You Do What You Do?

From our About page: Question: People ask us . . . Why Do You Do What You Do? (WDYDWYD?) Answer 1: Jobs! We’re committed to creating local and green jobs for the Buffalo community. More importantly, we feel these jobs should leverage the waste in our society to create opportunity. We’re interested in a critical analysis of our economy to identify wasteful business practices that damage our communities and our environment, and opportunities that exist for new ventures. We’re determined to find solutions and to implement alternatives that put people to work. Answer 2: Innovation! As we look at 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: 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

Women in the trades

Working in an industry where females comprise only 3% of the workforce can be rough, especially in a blue-collar town like Buffalo.  I see behavior and overhear conversations everyday that show me society’s stereotypical female and male roles are very much alive and kicking. Yelled from below while reroofing my aunt’s porch: “All women crew?  Where’s your man to do that?” From a foreman on another crew: “A girl in charge today?  You’re too pretty to get dirty!  You should be in a nice office somewhere, not here supervising dirty boys! This is 2011.  And yet, as a woman in … Read more

Their Next Step . . . Apprentices in Action!

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more luck I have.” — Thomas Jefferson Our first apprenticeship class, that spent over five weeks facilitating a huge salvage effort of tubs, sinks, ceramic tile, doors, and molding, is proving that diligence and hard work pay off when pursuing job placements in the City of Buffalo. Since our last report a couple weeks back, seven of our nine apprentices have secured jobs locally. Many will be continuing work at the Hotel Lafayette starting this coming Tuesday, as they move on to the demolition phase of … Read more

Empowering Neighbor

Michael was interviewed by Megan Callahan for Merge’s Empowering Neighbors feature. Read the whole interview at The Good Neighborhood: You have a passion for helping young people, for equipping them with concrete job skills and readiness in the “green collar” class and finding them job placement, as you mentioned. How is that going? Is this a model you plan to continue? Well, I have a commitment at ReUse Action to support: A) employment opportunities in our community; and B) young adults in our community who are out of school and out of work. So that’s long been my commitment in … Read more

Do not wait…

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” ~Mother Teresa Though my formal schooling is long behind me, I’m grateful that my hunger for new information, ideas, and skills is still rumbling.  I learn best from doing, so if I were to spend the next year in learning mode, I’d design my year to learn directly from some of my friends that are experts in their respective fields.  I can think of many of this fine folks…friends that are overflowing with information and skills, people whose talent I envy and admire, and individuals that have so much … Read more