October 19, 2021

Donation event in Dryden helps recycle old items

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

A bathtub gets loaded onto a truck Saturday outside of Dryden’s Highway Department building during the Finger Lakes ReUse donation event.

Seeing the different household items given away during Saturday’s drop-off event for Finger Lakes ReUse in Dryden gave an insight into people’s lives.

There were ski racks, chairs and even a bathtub that people gave away at the event in the town’s Highway Department parking lot.

But the flow of people was more than what Evan Kurtz, a member of Dryden’s Rotary Club, had expected.

“I’m a little surprised,” he said. “People are showing up and being patient and helping out and it’s working pretty well.”

The event, assisted by the Rotary Club, had people drive into the department’s parking lot and unload items in one of two trucks brought by Finger Lakes ReUse to be hauled away and taken back to their stores in Ithaca.

Finger Lakes ReUse, according to the organization’s website, is a non-profit that takes old and unwanted items and sells them again to be reused, helping to reduce waste.

Kurtz, who had worked with Finger Lakes ReUse before, got the idea to have the club host the group after getting lots of requests about Finger Lakes ReUse and when it will take items again due to the coronavirus pandemic closing the organization’s stores.

He then reached out to different organizations — like Finger Lakes ReUse and the highway department — and received approval to have the event in Dryden.

“For some people, driving into Ithaca is a long way to go,” he said as one of the reasons why he wanted to bring the event to Dryden.

Those who participated appreciated the event.

“I think it’s great to reuse stuff,” said Les Brown. “It keeps the landfills empty.”

Brown had stopped by with his friend, Bob Munch, and gave away an old chair.

David Warmbrodt said he was dropping off some old clothes, towels, sundries and a hose.

“If it’s a choice between having stuff thrown out or having actually been put to use, that’s kind of a no-brainer and a win-win,” he said on why he was donating at the event.

He also said that it was more beneficial to donate than throw away old items in a landfill, which will run out of space.

“It’s better in somebody’s hands than somewhere under the dirt,” he said.

Diane Cohe, the executive director of Finger Lakes ReUse, said that the organization has held donation events in Dryden in the past that were well received.

She wasn’t sure though if there would be any upcoming events in Dryden as the organization has been flooded with items since reopening its stores about two weeks ago.

Kurtz said he hoped the event would help get people to start thinking more about a circular economy where unwanted items could be reused elsewhere by someone else.

“We can’t maintain the economy we have now,” he said. “It doesn’t work.”