Most of the items are donated to Community Forklift for free, but there is a complex web of logistics behind getting that stuff! Where is it located? Does it meet our guidelines? Can it be brought to our donations bay? Do we need to pick it up? There are phone calls, online forms, routing, and managing of time and donor expectations. When you take into account all of the labor and materials that are necessary, free stuff is not free! And 56,000 square feet of warehouse space to store those items? Also not free!
Built into the price paid for something at Community Forklift is a myriad of goodness! You are supporting the people who work to identify reusable items, transport those items, inspect and fix those items, price and stock those items, clean and maintain the store so you can find those items, run the sales desk so you can buy those items, and so on. When you buy at Community Forklift, you’re not only helping keep stuff out of the landfill, you’re also supporting a vibrant green economy of jobs that pay a good wage and great healthcare.
Community Forklift is MORE than a store! While the store (ahem … reuse center) is the most visible aspect of Community Forklift, the organization has a broader purpose: redistributing value to people who need more of it. When customers have access to low-cost home improvement supplies and when community organizations and neighbors in need receive free materials through our Community Building Blocks Program and Home Essentials Program, those materials are going where they’re needed locally.
Your decision to donate or shop at Community Forklift has a ripple effect that goes beyond our donations bay or sales desk. Our organization and others like it are all a part of a circular economy: an economic system where materials are used and reused instead of used once and thrown away. This means less natural resources and energy are used to produce additional goods. And when reused items are returned to the circular economy and reused again, the benefit continues!
Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse. We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.