The Resource Exchange provides inspiration and reclaimed materials for
creative and environmentally resourceful making, teaching & living

Our nonprofit reuse center promotes creative reuse, recycling, and resource conservation by diverting valuable materials from the waste stream and redirecting them to artists, builders, educators, and the general public.


Creative reuse organizations across the country improve the environment, enhance the arts and culture of their communities, and contribute to local, sustainable economies. A creative reuse center in Philadelphia was long overdue, so The Resource Exchange was founded in 2009 to fill this need.

Our initial efforts were focused on spurring more sustainable practices within the local arts and entertainment industries. Building and tearing down film and theater sets, like traditional construction and demolition, uses a tremendous amount of resources which often end up in landfill. Building and art materials, unique set pieces and props, costumes and fabrics, and many types of housewares and home improvement items are used temporarily, and then discarded. After completion of the green production guide SETS (Setting Entertainment Toward Sustainability), The Resource Exchange began targeting the long term environmental consequences of short term productions. With a dedicated all volunteer staff , we started salvaging set materials out of temporary storage spaces, and then a short term lease in The Philadelphia Navy Yard where many local films have been built and shot.

In our first year, The Resource Exchange saved over 30 tons of what was once considered “waste” for reuse, and helped to divert over 600 tons of additional material previously destined for our region’s landfills for recycling.

When the Navy Yard proved to be a bit too small and inaccessible for the community, we moved to 2829 Cedar Street in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia, in an effort to expand our outreach and continue putting an increasingly diverse amount of valuable, reusable material back into the local economy.

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  • On the set of our first major film strike, we saved over 25 tons of the lumber with a local union film crew
  • Our first space was in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where volunteers de-nailed reusable lumber from our first film strike.
  • A lot of valuable resources from theatres often end up in landfill after the curtain closes. We work with many local theatres (pictured is a set from The Arden) to not only save set materials, but to put them back into future productions!
  • We work in partnership with Revolution Recovery, a local recycling company, to prioritize reuse and ensure that the remaining material is recycled
  • The Mural Arts Program’s Restored Spaces Initiative (with The International Design Clinic) used our reclaimed materials to build an outdoor classroom at the Bodine High School for International Affairs!
  • Even our flyers are made from reclaimed materials...these were printed on old magazines!

“The reuse of materials is a great service to small budget theaters and most of all to the enviroment. Thank you for this incredible business!”
– Rajiv Shah, Inis Nua Theater Company

“Without The Resource Exchange, we could not have afforded this production!”
– Claire Bretschneider, Mainstage Center for the Arts