For over 30 years the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse (“The Depot”) has been a leading pioneer in the field of reuse. The Depot was founded in the late 1970s by a group of Oakland Unified School District teachers for the purpose of providing ecological, reused supplies at low cost to educators with dwindling budgets. In 1993, the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (now StopWaste.org) awarded the Depot a major service contract to operate Project Create (an environmental education program) and Trash to Treasures (an annual junk art contest), and funded these programs until 2004.
In 1997 the San Francisco Foundation provided capacity building funds to hire an Executive Director, Linda Levitsky, who is now in her 18th year at the Depot. In 2002, Ms. Levitsky was named “Woman of the Year” in the Environment category by Alameda County.
In 2007, the Depot relocated to Oakland’s Temescal District. The site was chosen for its urban setting, and its accessibility from many locations, freeways, and public transportation. The new retail location has allowed The Depot to be more successful than ever in serving teachers, students, artists, non-profit groups, and families in the East Bay and beyond. The building itself is a model of sustainable construction (“green building”). An extensive remodel of the site was done using salvaged wood and windows, energy-efficient lighting, on-demand water heaters, and the asbestos flooring was removed. “Green” Architect David Arkin provided his services at a discounted rate, and the renovations were funded in part by StopWaste.org grant. The intent was to provide a model and inspiration for other businesses and individuals to use “green” practices in their construction.
The Depot’s primary activities involve collecting discarded materials by donation from businesses, manufacturers, and the general public, keeping the materials out of the landfill, and offering them for sale in the Depot Store. Our customers are typically, teachers, artists and households to which we sell supplies at low cost. Our staff offers hands-on education and advice to teachers and others on how to utilize reused materials in the classroom and at home. The Depot Store diverts over 200 tons of reusable material from the landfills each year.
The Depot also provides ecological arts and crafts activities for public school students, recreation programs, and community events through our Special Events.