Image of man standing at loading dock


This presentation will explore how the architect and design community in DC can partner with local nonprofit reuse organizations like Community Forklift to effectively reduce waste, meet sustainability goals, and support community development by redistributing/donating surplus or gently used building and home materials.

Nonprofits such as Community Forklift have a unique role to play in environmental justice and local economic development by diverting materials from the landfill and turning these materials into community assets that catalyze economic, housing, and community revitalization. Community Forklift is the largest reuse center for residential and commercial construction materials in the DC region and one of the largest and most successful reuse operations in the country.

This presentation will give an overview of the organization, our mission, and our  programs. We will also show specific examples of our public private partnerships in which we work together to recover and redistribute valuable reusable materials which are used for economic development. We will share stories in which these materials are provided for free to neighbors in need and community organizations. Additionally, we will share highlights and examples of how Community Forklift has been a resource for DC architects and designers in their own work/projects as a special source of unique, vintage, antique home and building materials

Lastly, Community Forklift will conduct a live virtual tour of our 40,000 sq foot Reuse Center/warehouse. Our Reuse Center has been open to the public since 2005 and is open seven days a week; employs 35 full and parttime staff (including those with traditional barriers to employment); sells building materials and home goods significantly below market prices; diverts millions of dollars of materials from the overcrowded landfill; productively occupies a brownfield site; supports hundreds of small businesses and entrepreneurs through the availability of low-cost materials; and acts as a resource center and gathering place for the local community.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the economic, environmental, and social justice opportunities with reused materials.
  • Understand how public-private partnerships with nonprofit reuse centers can support local development while acting as a unique resource to the DC design and architect community.
  • Know more about Community Forklift’s unique mission and model, including providing reusable materials for free to low income families and community groups.
  • Understand the importance of diverting construction and demolition debris, a significant contributor to the overall waste produced in the US.

Presented by:

Scott Buga

Director of Marketing and Communications, Community Forklift

Scott has over ten years of experience in graphic design and marketing communications and is responsible for the layout and design of Community Forklift print and digital ad campaign materials, managing Community Forklift’s social media accounts, and planning and writing Community Forklift newsletters and blog posts.


Tom Patzkowski

Director of Donations, Community Forklift

Tom brings over 25 years of experience in product acquisition and management of building materials in the building reuse industry. In his role as Director of Donations, he leads a dedicated donation acquisition team tasked with building community partnerships with residents and businesses to acquire quality reusable materials for the organization for distribution through the Reuse Center which includes coordination and management of Community Forklift’s two truck teams dispatched five days almost every week of the year to make scheduled pickups of materials throughout the metro DMV region.