Municipal Reuse & Repair Programs

Reuse and repair extend the useful lives of many items, conserve natural resources, reduce waste disposal, and save people and communities money.

Table of Contents

Swap Shop

Photo of Swap Shop in South Hadley

Swap Shop in South Hadley. Photo Credit: South Hadley DPW

A swap shop is a local place where residents can exchange used items that are in good working condition.

Typically located at a community’s transfer station or recycling drop-off center, the swap shop is based on the adage that “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

Learn about MassDEP funding for swap shops.

Video of Swap Shop in Wellesley

Repair Event

Image of Repair Café in Bolton

Repair Café in Bolton. Photo Credit: Nashoba Valley Rotary Club

A repair event brings members of the community together to help build a culture of repair, and keep items that are still useful out of the waste stream.

It is a free, hands-on opportunity for people with broken or damaged items - from bicycles to clothing, furniture to jewelry, consumer electronics to kitchen appliances - to connect with volunteer “fixers” who can repair them.

Learn about MassDEP funding for repair events.

Additional Resources

Zero Waste Day

Image of "Recycle Your Resuables" Day in Ayer

"Recycle Your Reusables" Annual Drop-Off Day in Ayer. Photo Credit: Ayer Recycling Committee

Also known as a Reuse Rodeo or donation event, a Zero Waste Day makes it easy for residents to donate gently used items to multiple non-profits at the same place and time. See below for a list of commonly accepted items.

Your community may also choose to provide a paper-shredding service and/or options for items that can be difficult to recycle, such as consumer electronics, in conjunction with a donation event.

Learn about MassDEP funding for donation events.

Additional Resources

Library of Things or Tool Library

Image of Library of Things

Library of Things at Peabody Institute Library, Danvers. Photo Credit: MassDEP

Creating a "lending library" offers residents access to tools and other useful items that they might need occasionally or for a specific purpose, but would otherwise be burdensome for them to own and store, and would likely sit idle for long periods of time.

Encouraging people to borrow rather than buy these items not only reduces waste, but also saves money. See Additional Resources below for a list of commonly available items.

Learn about MassDEP funding for tool/thing libraries.

Additional Resources

MassDEP Funding

The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) encourages your town or city to implement local reuse and repair programs, and offers financial assistance in support of them, including: 

Recycling Dividends Program (RDP)

Your community may earn:

  • Two (2) RDP points by operating a Swap Shop year-round.
  • Two (2) points toward RDP funding by holding at least three Repair Events per year, or one (1) point for holding one or two events per year. You may spend up to $4,000 of your RDP funds annually on event logistics, not including food and refreshments.
  • Two (2) RDP points by holding two or more Zero Waste Days per year or one (1) RDP Point by holding one event per year. You may spend RDP funds on event logistics, not including food and refreshments.
  • One (1) RDP point by hosting a Tool Library/Library of Things. You may spend up to $5,000 of your RDP funds annually in support of the Library.
  • Two (2) RDP points by adopting and enforcing a by-law, ordinance, or regulation banning single-use plastics.
  • Two (2) RDP points if the municipality either (1) specifically requires deconstruction, reuse and/or source separation of construction & demolition (C&D) materials in its building permits, or (2) is implementing a deconstruction pilot project at a designated building to serve as a model for future C&D projects.


Reduce, Reuse, Repair Micro-Grants

Your community may apply for:

  • Up $10,000 in Micro-Grant funding for short-term projects that aim to reduce waste and/or prolong the lifespan of products via donation, rescue, reuse and/or repair.

You may review the relevant eligibility criteria in the documents below.

Additional Resources

Contact   for Municipal Reuse & Repair Programs

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