I was lucky enough to visit Rebuilding Exchange in Chicago not so long ago and had a great snoop around the place! And I can confirm it is an upcyclers heaven! When traveling to somewhere new, I cant help but seek out places to go that feed my upcycling passion. I had been informed of Rebuilding Exchange by family who live in Chicago but had never been themselves. So we set off one day to take a look!
About Rebuilding Exchange Chicago:
Rebuilding Exchange is a market for reclaimed building materials. The aim is to divert materials from landfills and make them accessible for reuse through a retail warehouse; promotes sustainable deconstruction practices; provides education and job training programs; and creates innovative models for sustainable reuse.
Rebuilding Exchange is a project of the Delta Institute.
Since its inception in 2009, Rebuilding Exchange has diverted thousands of tons of building materials from the landfill, and simultaneously created over $2 million worth of quality reuse materials available to the public. Promoting sustainable deconstruction practices and educating on reuse
Through contractor forums, educational seminars with local and public experts, as well as speaking engagements around the region, Rebuilding Exchange helps lead the national effort to educate on deconstruction and reuse. Rebuilding Exchange also offers over 100 hands-on public workshops per year to educate and empower on the many different ways to reuse materials. Through a thriving volunteer program they leverage the people resources of the community to build broader support for deconstruction and reuse, and reach a diverse audience of stakeholders.
Training people with barriers to employment
The deconstruction and building materials reuse sector offers employment opportunities for people with a range of skill sets and backgrounds, and a trained workforce who understands the value and opportunities associated with this growing industry is needed. To date, Rebuilding Exchange has provided job training opportunities to 82 people with barriers to employment in the fields of deconstruction, materials management, warehousing, retail and carpentry.
Creating innovative models for sustainability and reuse
Rebuilding Exchange supports innovation in reuse by donating materials to partner non-profit organizations who are working to rebuild their communities with reclaimed materials. They also host design competitions to foster the innovative reuse of more challenging materials, and launched RX Made, an in-house furniture line made from local and salvaged materials.
I was hugely impressed by the project. The warehouse was HUGE and highly organised. Wood scraps were piled neatly, an array of old doors were easily accessible for viewing, everything was labeled and had its place.
Take a look through the images below that I took while I was there. I get all excited just thinking about all the possibilities and new uses the resources in Rebuilding Exchange offer! Such an excellent, truly inspiring initiative. A place oozing with potential for creativity and full to the brim with resources for reuse! I urge you to watch the TEDx Talk below by the Elise Zelechowski – the Founder of Rebuilding Exchange. What a lady!