Want to swap your stuff? The next Stop ‘N’ Swap will be held at the I.S. 52 cafeteria (650 Academy St. at Broadway), Sat., Jan. 22, from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.
For as long as history has been recorded, trade has been a part of human culture. The form has changed, but the idea has remained much the same: people trade what they can make themselves or what they have for what they can’t make themselves or for what they don’t have.
One eco-friendly program is using a type of trade reminiscent of earlier days – direct trade that all but disappeared from large swaths of the modern U.S. landscape. However, in this case, no barter is necessary.
“It’s like a flea market but with no money,” said Pam Scott, teacher at the School of Environmental and Applied Sciences, and advisor of the school recycling club. “The idea is to reduce the amount of stuff that goes into the landfill.”
The program is called Stop ‘N’ Swap, and it is run by GrowNYC.
How do you participate? Gather any clean, reusable, portable items you don’t want or need any more, bring them to the swap, and browse the event for any items you want to take home.
In a normal barter exchange, two people might trade items of roughly equal value. But not so at a Stop ‘N’ Swap.
“You can trade whatever,” said Scott. “It doesn’t have to be equivalent.”
“You don’t have to bring anything to take something, and you don’t have to pay to come,” said Christina Salvi, the Assistant Director of the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education with GrowNYC.
Scott said that many people sit and wait at the swaps for items they might want. Scott recalled her first swap, when, according to her, a swarm of old ladies descended on her stuff as soon as she put it down.
The next Stop ‘N’ Swap will be held at the I.S. 52 cafeteria (650 Academy St. at Broadway), Sat., Jan. 22, from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.
This will be the first Stop ‘N’ Swap hosted by 8th graders from the recycling club. Scott said they would like to hold more.
This is the school’s first year as the School of Environmental and Applied Sciences, and the event falls in line with the school’s mission to emphasize environmental sciences and community service.
“The idea is if you teach the kids, they go home and train the parents,” said Scott of the school’s environmental efforts.
The school was chosen as one of eight schools around the city for the School Recycling Champions program of GrowNYC, to potentially become a model for other schools.
Salvi says there is increasing demand to hold more Stop ‘N’ Swaps, which started in 2007.
She said at most Stop ‘N’ Swaps, people ask her “Can you bring this to my neighborhood?” or “Can we do this every weekend?”
Salvi expects even more popularity for the event by the end of the winter, as GrowNYC will hold one Stop ‘N’ Swap in each borough during January and February.
Inwood was originally chosen as a focus neighborhood by GrowNYC because it had one of the lowest rates of recycling in Manhattan. The swaps have been a great success in the area.
Salvi said much of the outreach for Stop ‘N’ Swaps has traveled through neighborhood networks. She recently found out that the schools were communicating about the swaps amongst each other.
Items brought to the exchange must be clean, reusable, and easily portable. No furniture or larger items are allowed. Salvi suggested using Freecycle, Craigslist, or Stuff Exchange for furniture and bigger items.
Salvi said that there is typically lots of clothing, household items, kids stuff, books, art, and records exchanged at the swaps. But sometimes more unusual items surface. She has seen a mannequin head, a vintage typewriter, and a digital music player pass through the swaps.
“If someone gets a gift for Christmas that’s just not good for them, that might turn up at the swap,” she said.
For more information, visit www.grownyc.org.
Inwood Electronics Recycling
The Inwood Electronics Recycling Event will take place rain or shine, Sat., Jan. 22, 10am – 4pm at the RING Garden (Riverside Dr. between Seaman Ave. and Broadway). Items accepted include working and non-working computers, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, phones, audio/visual equipment, cell phones and PDAs. Tax deductions are possible for people who donate computer equipment. More information about tax deductions will be available at the information table at the event. The event is sponsored by Tekserve and the Lower East Side Ecology Center. For more information, visit www.lesecologycenter.org.