What is The Scrap Exchange?
The Scrap Exchange is a Creative Reuse Center — we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse.
We collect materials from hundreds of individuals, businesses, industries, and municipal sources and distribute those materials through our retail store in Durham, North Carolina as well as through workshops, parties, and outreach events across the Southeast.
The Scrap Exchange creates a win-win-win situation for everyone involved — our donors are eligible for a tax deduction for the value of the items they donate; community members have access to hard-to-find, affordable materials; and usable materials are kept from entering the waste stream.
Where do you get your materials?
We collect materials from over 250 industries within a 100-mile radius of The Scrap Exchange. Materials include foam, paper, fabric, zippers, buttons, test tubes, and much more. We also take in contributions from individuals. We welcome craft materials, art supplies, vintage goodies, and other unique items. We take in more than 500 drop-off donations each year.
What materials do you accept?
Please visit our Donate Materials page for information about donating materials, and what we are able to accept. We also have a printable/downloadable flyer for reference.
What do you do with the materials you collect?
Materials are sold in our retail store and are also featured in a variety of creative arts programs and workshops. Our Events By the Truckload program travels to large-scale community festivals and events where we provide hands-on, creative arts activities. We also travel to schools for classroom workshops and after-school activities, and we host workshops and parties at our Creative Reuse Center. We teach professional development workshops for educators and childcare providers that explain how to incorporate reclaimed materials into their curriculum and we share information on where they can find “materials in their neighborhood.” (We even have a flyer that gives some ideas for finding Materials in Your Neighborhood.)
What are your store hours?
The retail store is open 7 days a week: Monday 11 to 5, Tuesday, 11 to 5, Wednesday 11 to 5, Thursday 11 to 9, Friday 11 to 9, Saturday 10 to 5, and Sunday 12 to 5. Feel free to call the store at 919-688-6960 for more information.
Where are you located?
Since June 2011, we have occupied approximately 22,000 square feet of space in a historic mill property at 923 Franklin Street, Durham NC 27701. The building we’re in was originally part of the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company, and is located at the east end of downtown.
Here are directions to our store.
Didn’t you used to be located at … ?
From our opening in 1991 until December 1999, we occupied several different locations in Durham’s Northgate Mall.
In addition to the Northgate Mall store, we also operated a store and workshop space at Stonehenge Market on Creedmoor Road in Raleigh from September 1992 to September 1993, and then sold materials at the Atlantic Flea Market in Raleigh, from September 1993 to summer 1995.
From January 2000 until May 2011, we occupied 13,000 square feet of space in Liberty Warehouse, a former tobacco warehouse in the Central Park district of downtown Durham. That location included 8,000 square feet of retail store space and 5,000 square feet of warehouse storage space.
Why did you move out of Liberty Warehouse?
In May 2011, a portion of the roof of the Liberty Warehouse collapsed following a storm. The entire 200,000 square foot building was condemned by the City of Durham, and all tenants were forced to relocate.
What is included in your facility?
Our current space includes a retail store; Make-N-Take Room where we host open studio, parties, and workshops; design center; art gallery offering monthly exhibits of art made from reused and recycled products; Artists’ Marketplace selling upcycled products from local artists and craftspeople; and office space out of which we run our operation.
Where does The Scrap Exchange get its funding?
As an organization, The Scrap Exchange is largely self-sustaining, with nearly 90% of our annual budget coming from income generated through store sales and fee-for-service programming. The money we make through retail sales and outreach programs pays for day-to-day operations (salaries, rent, utilities, vehicles, etc.) and allows us to continue collecting materials and providing programming that fulfills our mission.
The remaining 10% of our budget comes from grants and individual donations.
In 2006, we received a Non-City Agency grant from the City of Durham to fund a part-time volunteer coordinator and to help support our outreach programs. That grant was renewed up to and including the 2009–10 fiscal year when the Non-City Agency program was phased out. We are grateful to the City of Durham for its past support.
In 2007–08, we received a grant from the Durham Arts Council, which was increased in 2009–10 and renewed and increased again in fiscal year 2010–11.
Programming supported by this grant was made possible by the City of Durham, gifts to the Durham Arts Council’s Annual Arts Fund, and support from the North Carolina Arts Council with funding from the state of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the Solicitation Licensing Section at 1-888-830-4989. The license is not an endorsement by the state.
We thank the Durham Arts Council, North Carolina Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts for their contribution.
Funding from grants and donations allows us to expand our program offerings and to provide services we would otherwise be unable to offer due to lack of resources.
What do you do with the money you make selling materials?
Store sales and income generated by fee-for-service programming supports our operation and allows us to collect materials from businesses and individuals in our area, and to process those materials and make them available to the public.
How did The Scrap Exchange get started?
In 1991, a woman named Chris Rosenthal and a group of supporters including nationally known environmental artist Bryant Holsenbeck and educator Joe Appleton started The Scrap Exchange. Chris was a teacher who wanted great materials for use in her classroom. She had previously worked for an organization in Australia called The Reverse Garbage Truck and patterned The Scrap Exchange on that program.
Please visit the History page for more information about the history of the organization.