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Habitat Restore recycles used home goods

The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity has opened a new facility for used furniture and home supplies in downtown Schenectady.

The Habitat Restore, which county officials are touting as a win, win idea, opened Wednesday, Aug. 15.

"There are a lot of positives going on here," Chamber of Commerce Director Charles Steiner said. "First there is the idea that this stuff is recycled instead of thrown away and also the idea that one man's junk is another man's treasure and, well, it's another form of community."

According to Jeffery Clark, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Schenectady County, the Habitat Restore on Foster Avenue is the first in Schenectady County, but there are more than 500 such stores across the country.

The idea for a Habitat Restore in Schenectady County came from the facilities manager at Union College who wanted to keep unwanted furniture and other items from students out of the landfill at the end of each school year.

Students who move off of campus or out of apartments often leave behind things they can't take with them during the moving process. Clark said, Union College students could take their unwanted couches, dressers and desks to the Habitat Restore and save the college between $2,000 and $3,000 per year in landfill fees.

The Restore is a smorgasbord of home items, from couches, chairs, rocking chairs and ottomans to building supplies like windows, doors and even a kitchen sink. The Restore also has kitchen supplies such as glasses, plates, silverware and cookware. Lowe's Home Improvement even donated brand new cans of paint to the store because it was updating its inventory.

Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton attended the Habitat Restore's opening ceremony. He said this facility is good for many reasons, but particularly because residents in Schenectady have no reason for not bringing their homes up to code. He said the Habitat Restore provides affordable windows and doors so residents have no excuse not to replace them.

Clark said the Habitat Restore is looking for drivers to pick up unwanted stuff, and Clark said he prefers to be called and to pick up stuff instead of becoming a dumping ground. The Habitat Restore is currently open Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Clark said the store could increase its hours if more people volunteer to work.

Money from sales at the store will benefit the Habitat for Humanity home-building program.

For more information visit the Web site www.hfhscny.org.

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