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Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe on Repair and Reuse

July 6, 2023

Last year in Akwesasne, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Solid Waste Program diverted 1176.4 lbs. of reused items from the trash during reuse/fix events. The most reused item was clothing. The most commonly repaired item was lamps. We recognize the SRMT community made this reuse event a reality. People in Tribal lands are familiar with the reuse concept.

ComicKwiss & Tiio, the SRMT environmental cartoon characters explain how back in the day people would rely on reusing items, making items last through the times. 2022 wasn’t the exception, and we started the STOP & SWAP event where people donated unwanted used items and others took what they found valuable for free. Mostly books, lamps, and clothing.

Another 2022 outcome was the very first FIX-ITFix it Cafe flyer CAFÉ. People brought broken items so the repair coaches could fix them for free. A few lamps were fixed and they also did small soldering repairs. Thanks to Les Benedict the 2nd from the Akwesasne community for starting the repairs. We admit to being inspired after attending the 2022 NYSAR3 Reuse Summit.

This year we are continuing the second STOP & SWAP and FIX-IT CAFÉ one-day event. Local Akwesasne volunteers will repair clothing & household items. A bicycle shop from out of town will repair bikes. Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions is joining to explain furniture repairs and will do outreach & education. The support from other institutions and towns is valued. The SRMT MSW Program was the first to organize a reuse/repair event here in the North Country of NY. We want to let small towns know that they can do it as well.

The SRMT Recycling and Waste Reduction Handbook reminds people to only buy what they need. Shopping smart and greener by investing in durable & reusable products. How to take proper care of shoes and clothing and repair them to extend use. For us, it’s about the well-being of the land and community.

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