Town's Partnership To Really Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle With Habitat's ReStore - 27 East

Town's Partnership To Really Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle With Habitat's ReStore

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Habitat for Humanity will pick up gently used items at the North Sea Transfer Station on Wednesdays. COURTESY SOUTHAMPTON TOWN

Habitat for Humanity will pick up gently used items at the North Sea Transfer Station on Wednesdays. COURTESY SOUTHAMPTON TOWN

Habitat for Humanity CEO Lee Silberman, Southampton Town Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, Environmental facilities Manager Ed Thompson, Richard Casabianca,  and Restore donations Manager Courtney Collins at the program's inaugural day at the North Sea Transfer Station. COURTESY SOUTHAMPTON TOWN

Habitat for Humanity CEO Lee Silberman, Southampton Town Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, Environmental facilities Manager Ed Thompson, Richard Casabianca, and Restore donations Manager Courtney Collins at the program's inaugural day at the North Sea Transfer Station. COURTESY SOUTHAMPTON TOWN

Kitty Merrill on Jun 22, 2021

One day, Richard Casabianca was at the Southampton Town Transfer Station in North Sea dropping off materials when he saw an iron table in the bulk container. The Hampton Bays resident also saw Councilwoman Julie Lofstad and called her over. He pointed at the iron table, making note that it was headed for the waste stream.

“She saw an oversized cooler in there and said, ‘I'd like to have it,’” he recounted. “Julie Lofstad got it immediately and within a couple of days she had set something up.”

What the councilwoman “got” was the notion of really reducing, reusing and recycling. Unlike East Hampton Town, where the recycling center maintains a home exchange section, at the Southampton Town stations, residents aren’t allowed to take any items they see discarded.

Mr. Casabianca recalled seeing a Revere Ware pot in the metal container. It was right at the edge of the container so he reached down and grabbed it, only to be scolded by the attendant who reminded him there’s no scavenging allowed.

“I was over it,” he said.

The Town of Southampton exhorted residents to reduce, reuse and recycle, but was, in reality, hypocritical in practice, the community activist felt.

He met with staff in the town’s land use department, then decided to reach out to Habitat for Humanity himself.

“I called Habitat’s office and asked, ‘Would you like a place out here?’ Their response was an immediate and enthusiastic yes,” he said.

The “place” debuted on June 16. That day Ms. Lofstad and Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lee Silberman announced the Partnership to Reuse Program at the North Sea Transfer Station. Residents may bring new or slightly used furniture, appliances, kitchen cabinets and building materials to the station on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The materials will then be resold at the Suffolk ReStore in Ronkonkoma, with proceeds supporting affordable housing projects. Habitat ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that play an integral role in the Habitat for Humanity mission of helping create affordable homes. Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit organization that operates in all 50 states and 70 countries helping people build their own affordable homes using their “sweat equity.” The organization currently has around a half-dozen sites in Southampton Town.

“I’m very excited about this partnership,” Ms. Lofstad said in a release extolling the launch. “It will keep functional and usable items out of landfills, while helping Habitat for Humanity build affordable housing, which is consistent with the town’s goals to reduce waste and increase our affordable housing inventory.”

“Southampton residents can now pass on unwanted items, clear clutter while making a difference, helping Habitat build affordable housing for low- to mid-income families in Suffolk County. Items donated to Suffolk ReStore are sold to the public to support Habitat’s vision — a world where everyone has a decent place to live. This is a win-win for everyone,” stated Mr. Silberman.

Asked why he lit the fuse to start the process of developing the partnership, Mr. Casabianca said, “It’s because I’ve got a long memory. I remember when people used to go to the dumps and come home with more than they brought.”

He said that there’s a wicker couch on his porch that’s been there through cushion changes since 1971 when his great-aunt brought it back from the dump strapped to the roof of her Chevy Nova.

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