The District of Columbia has launched a new website to help residents find ways to reuse and purchase second-hand items.
The Department of Energy and Environment has launched Reuse DC, a website that consolidates the virtual resources District residents can use to make more eco-friendly decisions. The site includes an interactive map where residents can enter an address and choose whether they want to repair, donate or shop for pre-owned items including electronics and appliances. The website also provides information about organizations where residents and businesses can donate excess food.
The launch of Reuse DC is part of D.C.’s larger Sustainable DC Plan, which aims to reduce waste generated per capita in the District, facilitate the reuse and recovery of materials and achieve zero waste citywide by 2032.
The program will play an important role in the creation of similar programs and the expansion of sustainable options around the country, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz.
Reuse DC will encourage District residents to broaden their environmentally-friendly practices, Ortiz said.
“By helping communities learn where to repair, donate and purchase second-hand items, these types of programs are taking us from the basic reduce, reuse, recycle ethic to the next level by returning materials of value to the supply chain,” Ortiz wrote to The Hoya.
Reuse DC also offered grants totaling $64,000 to eight local businesses and nonprofits to support their sustainability efforts. Grantees include Common Good City Farm, a community farm whose mission is to sustain and support a more equitable community through growing and sharing fresh food and The Fresh Food Factory Market, a retail incubator whose objective is to increase the availability of local, ethnic, healthy and affordable food products in the DMV.
Other resources on the Reuse DC site include a commercial food donation guide and a “What goes where?” tool for residents to determine which items can be recycled or reused instead of being thrown away. The interactive feature also includes a search tool for specific kinds of food waste and where to dispose of them.
Another feature of the website is Fix-it DC, which includes information about community events for residents to learn how to repair their damaged items. The “Exchange with Neighbors” tab of the website also provides a list of several programs for District residents to connect with and give away or exchange unwanted items with a neighbor.
Gina Green, a professor at Georgetown’s Earth Commons environmental and sustainability innovation institute, said she hopes the new program will help D.C. residents get more involved in the waste management process in the District.
“Fantastic start for D.C. government to provide the necessary tools to its residents including Georgetown University on how and where we can recycle and truly implement the 3Rs,” Green told The Hoya. “Tools like the website are essential for individual households to participate in reaching D.C.’s Zero Waste goal by 2032.”
Georgetown Renewable Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN) co-president Willow Volkert (COL ’25) said the new program will help residents learn about ways to make eco-friendly choices.
“We think it is a great resource for the DC community and have already begun sharing it with our audiences,” Volkert wrote to The Hoya. “We think it will help DC residents learn about secondhand shopping, as well as increase equity in the city as clothes become more accessible.”
Ortiz said Reuse DC is a step in the right direction, but is not the end goal.
“EPA commends the District and its partners for putting together a program like Reuse DC, but much more work remains to be done across the country,” Ortiz wrote.