Through reusing, donating, and repairing your household items, you can save money and reduce the impact of creating new items and making waste. Department of Energy and Environment has launched several programs to achieve Sustainable DC’s goal of facilitating local reuse and recovery of materials to capture their economic and social value.
Fix-It DC holds community repair events dedicated to changing the “throw-it-away” mentality. Participants bring their broken items to the Fix-It events where community coaches provide guidance in troubleshooting and how to repair each item.
Fix-It DC regularly holds events at the DC Public Library Fabrication Lab and works with other community organizations to enable them to hold their own events. Learn more at doee.dc.gov/service/fix-it-dc.
ReThread DC, the District of Columbia’s textile reuse and recovery initiative, provides residents and visitors resources for decreasing the impact that their clothing (and other textiles) has on the environment. The Department of Public Work’s 2021 Waste Characterization Study found that clothing textiles make up 6% of residential trash, causing our city to spend an estimated $200,000 a year to dispose of unwanted clothing and other textiles as trash. Furthermore, textile production is a leading contributor to water pollution globally. Help save money and reduce pollution by reducing textile waste.
Whether hosting clothing swaps and knowledge summits, or sharing resources on how to properly donate, reuse, and recycle clothing, ReThread seeks to create a culture of sustainable use of textiles. Learn more at doee.dc.gov/service/rethread-dc.
DOEE makes grants available for donation and reuse projects, through the partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust and DOEE’s Small and Accessible Grant Program. The grant program emphasizes support for small, new, and/or historically-excluded (SNHE) entities. DOEE highly encourages applicants with projects focused on new or expanded repair services to community members currently experiencing barriers to accessing necessities including but not limited to electronics and bicycle repair. Learn more about the grants at cbtrust.org/grants/district-of-columbia-donation-reuse/.
The 2024 Request for Proposals is closed.
Seven projects totaling $58,674.00 were awarded. The program funded donation and reuse project, services, outreach, and education. The 2023 Awardees were:
- Common Good City Farm- $10,000- to continue the Preservation Workshop Series, including six workshops and two demonstrations to show attendees how to reuse, repurpose and reduce food waste. The demonstrations will allow people who may not have time to attend an entire workshop to still learn and adopt tips for food preservation and clothes mending.
- Community Forklift- $10,000- to conduct outreach to low-income communities to increase participate in the HELP program (Home Essentials Program).The marketing campaign will also encourage higher-income communities to donate quality home materials to be used for low-income residents diverting construction materials from the landfill.
- Food Rescue US- $7,500 to recruit 100 volunteers through an outreach campaign to support the growing number of food donors interested in edible food donations. Strategies will include participation in local events, social media campaigns with local and national news outlets. The project includes Food Rescue providing support and training to other organizations to learn how to implement food rescue programs.
- George Washington University Office of Sustainability- $5,000 to enhance current landfill diversion, reuse, and circular economy efforts on campus through the launching a Reuse Market on campus to provide donated items (food, clothing, household items) from the previous semester’s Green Move Out drive at no-cost to students in need. The Reuse Market will also include educational signage and communication about the importance of reuse and about resources in the District that facilitate donation and reuse.
- The Outrage - $9,000 to increase support staff capacity to coordinate drives and organize donations. The Outrage will expand efforts by supporting additional types of donations (i.e. food), partner with new community organizations (like East of the River Mutual Aid), host clothing swaps and mending workshops, and expand outreach and educational efforts.
- The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command - $10,000 to provide immediate relief for District residents experiencing food insecurity through edible food recovery from restaurants and grocery stores through the expansion of food storage capacity. Salvation Army will increase participation through the recruitment of businesses not currently engaged in food recovery.
- Swap Universe (Swap DC) - $7,174 to expand clothing swaps to younger DC audiences through community engagement and partnerships with local after school programs by providing provide inclusive programming and hosting swaps. The project will create employment opportunities through an entrepreneurial sponsorship program that will support talented creatives and investors in the District. Swap Universe will also provide bins throughout the District to increased clothing donations and expand upcycling opportunities.
Eight entities were selected, with awards totaling $64,000.
- A Wider Circle- $8,500 to support the Essential Support Program, which provided donated beds, furniture, and home goods to more than 170 households in the District during the grant period.
- Common Good City Farm- $10,000 to launch the Preservation Workshops, a series of adult education classes that focused on reducing waste and maximizing dollars through the practice of food preservation and mending.
- Community Forklift- $10,000 to create the “Monumental Reuse” engagement campaign to highlight the environmental dangers of excess building waste and share ways to reduce and divert these materials from the waste stream.
- Frontline Gig, Inc- $7,000 to estimate reuse potential in illegal dumping via a park waste characterization.
- ShopReuse LLC- $9,892 to support an information campaign about second-hand construction material opportunities, including direct engagement with individuals working in construction.
- The Fresh Food Factory Market- $10,000 to support purchase of reusable bags and a freezer to aid in preservation of food donations.
- The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command- $2,500 to pilot food rescue from three major food retail locations.
- Three Part Harmony Farm- $6,731.09 to triple cold storage capacity via solar power and prevent produce spoilage.
Ditch the Disposables aims to reduce the waste from disposable foodware throughout the District by providing grants to support transitions to reusable foodware at restaurants and other food-serving entities. Funds can be used for projects including establishing dishwashing capacity and implementing the use of reusable foodware and containers. More information is available at doee.dc.gov/disposables.