Sustainability 101

“Recycling” A Gym Through Skillful Matchmaking

Vornado gym move
A gym-full of equipment looking for a new home

What do you do with a gym-full of fitness equipment that is no longer needed?

Vornado/Charles E. Smith recently found the perfect solution when they renovated the fitness center at Commerce Metro Center in Reston, VA.  They donated their old equipment to The Loading Dock, a nonprofit building materials reuse center in Baltimore that works to increase the supply and use of affordable materials for housing and community improvement by redirecting useful materials from the landfill.

Making the right connection between donors and charities can sometimes be difficult, especially when it involves bulky, heavy items like gym machines. Skillful matchmaking is key to keeping these items out of the landfill.

In this case, Kevin McNab, the Great Forest consultant who facilitated the Vornado donation, saw how he could make a match with The Loading Dock.

“Their target is materials like flooring, paint, moulding, doors and insulation, since they are looking to make repairs and improvements affordable for low-income families and communities,” says Kevin.

“While gym equipment does not really fit into that category, I realized that the machines could improve a home or building. It was an odd idea but I felt that others would see the value too.”

And he was right.

Once Kevin made the match, the rest – the transportation of the entire gym – was relatively easy. With expert coordination, over 20 pieces of equipment from Vornado were moved in a few hours with no disruption to the normal building workday, even though some pieces had to be dismantled first, and hinges had to be taken off a few doors.

Recycling unwanted assets through donations keeps useful items out of the landfill. As a bonus, donors receive a tax deduction, and they may also save on waste hauling fees and earn LEED credits for their contributions as well.

Read more donation stories

Vornado gym move 3
Taking a break from moving a gym-full of equipment
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