“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”  It’s perhaps the most common phrase in relation to living an eco-friendly lifestyle.  More than words, it’s a philosophy that asks people to be more conscious of what they take and give back to the earth.  While it certainly is a standard to hold ourselves to, there’s so much more to it than using a water bottle over and over again.  “Living Green” is not only about improving the planet, but improving ourselves as well.  This is the objective of the group featured in this week’s video, The Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse. 

Nestled among the galleries, boutiques, and museums in the East Village Arts District in Long Beach, the Long Beach Depot promotes the reuse of what many people would consider garbage.  They ask that instead of throwing items away and sending them to landfills, people donate reusable items such as egg cartons, books, bottle caps, feathers, wire, ribbons, cardboard, and other miscellaneous items.  What could one possibly do with such garbage, you might ask.  As it turns out, any kind of art you can imagine!

The Long Beach Depot is a shop where people can buy these donated supplies to use in all kinds of art projects.  Whether it’s creating a scrapbook, collecting vintage magazines, or assembling a collage, among other things, people can walk in and be astounded by all the options they can create from “garbage.”  At its most basic level, the purchase of these materials is a perfect example of what it means to reuse, in that they don’t end up as waste.  By adding artistry and manipulation into the mix, however, one person can turn another’s trash into something new and beautiful; creative reuse in its purest form.  Old buttons, bottle caps, and glass pebbles can easily make a necklace, and for only a fraction of the price it would normally take with new art supplies!

More important than the individual consumer, though, is how The Depot is helping the Long Beach community.  Being located in the East Village Arts District, the shop is certainly proud of its heritage, and works to help promote creativity and a green lifestyle among its patrons.  Specifically, they host art classes on Saturdays for local kids, in an effort to keep art education alive when budget cuts ravage the school system.  Education is the first step to understanding conservation and how we can all help reduce waste, and The Long Beach Depot certainly does its part.

Remember that reuse is not only about using things over and over.  Reusing materials gives us the creative power to turn trash into treasure.

For more information on The Depot, please visit their website, where they also accept donations:

The Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse

The store is located at 320 Elm Avenue, Long Beach, California, 90802, and their business hours are Monday through Saturday, 11:00am to 6:00pm.