Signs of Sustainability: Treasure Hunt, Reuse Trail Open!

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By Susanna Plotkin

Throughout October, Get Your GreenBack Tompkins is hosting the first annual Reuse Trail Treasure Hunt. The Reuse Trail is made up of 45 stores in the county that sell used goods, and 14 of them are part of the Treasure Hunt. Game participants can pick up a game card at any Treasure Hunt store and play one of two games for a chance to to win between $40 and $200 in gift cards. Participation is free and no purchase is necessary; however, participants can take 10 percent off their purchase when they find a “treasure” they’d like to keep.

We have found over the years that local residents know about some secondhand stores in the community, but everyone is surprised at how many there are, and the variety of things they sell. Instead of telling people about these treasures, we made it a game, which I think is going to be really fun.

Purchasing reused items is more affordable than buying things new, uses no additional natural resources and keeps material out of landfills. According to the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, $200 billion of revenue is being generated from reuse stores in the U.S. This money creates jobs, and contributes to maintaining a healthy local economy.

Reuse shopping also reduces our carbon footprint, as manufacturing new goods is very energy and pollution intensive. Locally, reuse stores employ more than 100 people, and keep hundreds of tons of valuable resources out of the landfills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tompkins County enjoys reuse-related employment that is double the national average. Reuse stores also keep more money local, as most are locally owned, and source locally. According to Kelly Moreland, owner of Mama Goose in Ithaca’s West End, $84 out of $100 spent at their store stays local.

Visit ReuseTrail.com for more details on the Treasure Hunt, including a full list of the participating stores and the complete rules for participation.

Get Your GreenBack Tompkins is a community-initiated and community-supported campaign that works collaboratively to help people and organizations take key steps in the areas of food, transportation, waste and building energy that simultaneously reduce our community’s carbon emissions, save money and create a socially just local economy.

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This is the latest installment of the Signs of Sustainability series produced by Sustainable Tompkins.; visit SustainableTompkins.org. Plotkin, an intern at Get Your GreenBack Tompkins and senior at Cornell University, organized the Treasure Hunt.

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