The Resource Exchange
The Resource Exchange is Philadelphia’s go-to center for all things creative reuse! Their mission is to provide inspiration and reclaimed materials for creative and environmentally resourceful making, teaching & living.
In their shop, gallery and workshop space, they re-envision waste as valuable resources, by saving art and educational supplies, building and home improvement materials, business and manufacturing salvage and recirculating them back into the local community. They also inspire creative and adaptive reuse of existing resources by presenting the works of local artists and makers in their reCreate gallery, as well as hosting free and low cost workshops and community events.
Why did you become a member?
As an environmental arts organization, we have always taken a full circle approach – improving the local environment, enhancing arts and education, and supporting an equitable, sustainable economy are the interconnected pillars of our mission.
Being a member of Circular Philadelphia gives us the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from other local organizations and businesses that are also working towards closed loop solutions for Philadelphia.
What does a circular economy mean to your organization?
As an organization centered on material reuse, we know that there is no “away” when materials are thrown away – the linear economy of natural resource extraction to overconsumption to thoughtless disposal is not sustainable, and it impacts us all.
Our mission makes us uniquely able to serve as a catalyst for new ways of thinking about how the arts and the environment intersect, and how everyone can play a part in beautifying and improving the world around them. The purposeful mixture of artistic, commercial, and material recovery activity within our shop and gallery enables a broad and diverse range of customers, donors, and makers to overlap. This provides opportunities for making meaningful connections between what we all buy, make, teach, and do in our everyday lives, and how those choices impact the environment we all share.
How is your organization practicing circularity?
Our center is a hub for creative reuse for people from all backgrounds, a place to source more sustainable materials, share and showcase projects made with them, and learn more about the waste stream that puts these materials in jeopardy. Our affordable reclaimed materials have seeded countless creative and adaptive reuse projects in the community, contributing to a more sustainable local economy rooted in creativity and environmental stewardship.
Our reCreate gallery program features local makers who make sustainability an integral ingredient in the creative process. Artists featured in our in store and website gallery have transformed reclaimed materials into handmade works and wares, spanning disciplines from painting to textile art to theatre set design.
Our resourcePhilly program is our in-store and online vetted local reuse and recycling tool, researched and maintained to engage and educate Philadelphia residents about how to reuse, donate, and recycle commonly wasted materials.
How can others advance the circular economy?
We can all contribute by rethinking many aspects of our lives, and how to consciously prioritize the environment every day. Builders and homeowners can skip the linear model of the big box chains and choose reclaimed materials and decor whenever possible. Artists & makers can enhance the vibrant culture of our city while also lessening their impact on the planet. Teachers and their students can put the environment at the forefront of education. Businesses and organizations can collaborate to maximize their impact. Volunteers can seek out opportunities to join other community members in rolling up their sleeves and making a real difference in their local environment.