New York City is home to hundreds of nonprofit organizations that accept and redistribute second-hand and surplus goods. Reusable resources like computers, bicycles, building materials, industrial discards, office furniture, and textiles are donated to nonprofits and then distributed to those in need or sold at retail outlets to support the missions of nonprofit organizations. These types of services reduce waste generation, provide goods to the public for free or a reduced cost, and result in resource and energy conservation by preventing the need for the production of new goods.
Nonprofit reuse organizations are leaders in the green economy and contribute greatly to the goal of sustainable urban life by merging sound business practices with environmental and social responsibility. However, nonprofits often have very limited means to track and analyze the vital data demonstrating their contributions through product and materials reuse. This type of data can can be used internally to better understand operations and externally to market an organization’s economic, environmental, and social impact to potential donors and funders. To address this need the NYC Center for Materials Reuse began development and implementation of quantifying reuse in NYC.
NYCCMR staff developed a data management system that uses qualitative and quantitative information, provided by donateNYC Partners, to analytically describe the environmental, social, and economic impact of the nonprofit reuse sector in New York City; both for individual organizations and donateNYC Partners as a whole.