Why Reuse Matters

For the environment!



Keeps goods and material out of the waste stream

Advances Source Reduction

That is, reducing both the amount of materials we produce, and the harmful environmental impacts consequent on producing and disposing of them.

Source Reduction has been identified by the EPA as the highest priority in efforts to reduce solid waste. Strategies include:

  • Reuse
  • Recycling
  • Design for deconstruction – that is building end of life re-usability into new designs. CJ’s community room was designed and built to be taken apart and reused!

Preserves the embodied energy used in the manufacture of an item

Embodied energy is defined as the energy used during the entire life cycle of a product, including the energy used for manufacturing, transporting, and disposing of the product.

For example, the embodied energy in dimensional lumber includes the energy used to grow, harvest and process the trees into boards, transport the lumber to its final destination, and ultimately dispose of the wood at the end of its useful life.

Reduces the strain on valuable resources

Creates less air and water pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions, than making a new item or recycling

Reuse offers even greater environmental advantages than recycling since there are fewer environmental impacts.

Every ton of wood that is reused avoids the creation of 60 lbs of green house gas.

For people!

Generates new business and employment opportunities for both small entrepreneurs and large enterprises

  • For every 1,000 tons of material, disposal generates 2.5 jobs, recycling and reuse generate 4.7 jobs.
  • Studies show residential rehabilitation creates 50% more jobs than new construction.
  • As an environmental nonprofit, we have 34 full- and part-time employees.
  • PA collects sales tax on items sold at CJ.
  • We support job training programs and temporary opportunities for people with barriers to employment – in 2015, we were able to offer 3,601.9 hours of employment and job readiness experience through cooperative arrangements with Goodwill and the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh.
  • Creates an affordable supply of goods that are often of excellent quality.
  • Saves money in purchases and disposal costs.
  • Brings material resources to individuals and organizations that may not be able to afford them.
  • In 2015, through the CJ Regives program, CJ distributed $25,000 of materials to 43 area nonprofits


Build Reuse (formerly the Building Material Reuse Association) has more information!

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