Great Dish Giveaway Nets $11k for Nonprofits, Keeps Waste from Landfill

Photo from
The scene. Photo/Nicole Caldwell
The Better Crew on Saturday took part in a bit of American history as the public was invited to pick up as much unglazed Syracuse China dishware as desired from the company's former location in Syracuse.

For $10 a carload, people could arrive on Court Street, sign a waiver, and pull up to a field behind the factory to rifle through tens of thousands of unglazed dishware. The building's new owners were going to break up all the china and haul it to a landfill; but instead decided to turn it over to the public. The $10 fee was donated to the Eastwood Neighborhood Association and Over The Rainbow Daycare center at St. Matthews Church in East Syracuse. So this served an environmental cause (keeping all the stuff out of the landfill) as well as artistic, historic, and supporting great neighborhood causes. Quadruple win!
The pieces are all unglazed, but are perfect for art projects or for decorating and glazing by those with kiln access.

More than 1,100 cars and trucks arrived over the weekend with upwards of 3,000 people. More than $11,000 were raised for the nonprofits. Over at the Better compound, we'll be putting the china to use in a number of ways:
  • Glazing workshops open to the public
  • Future farm-to-table dinner events, where we will have artists design the dishware and diners will be able to bring their place settings home with them
  • We will glaze dishware for use at festivals, weddings and other events
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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.