Here’s a question we’re getting from more and more clients: “What’s the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of all the stuff being taken out of my home during my remodeling project?”
Recycling is one route. Waste Management, for example, recycles concrete, porcelain, lumber, metals and many other common construction materials. The company can also arrange for hazardous waste disposal as well as pickup of refrigerators, microwaves and other household items (refurbishing and recycling as much of these as possible).
Donating the items for Reuse is also an option. We often work with EcoBuilding Bargains (ecobuildingbargains.org), a non-profit based in Springfield, MA. Their goal is to help homeowners and contractors stay green by keeping thousands of tons of useful materials out of landfills. EcoBuilding assesses our upcoming projects to see if there are materials that can be reused. They offer free pick-up service across Southern New England for used and surplus building materials including cabinets, countertops, sinks, appliances, light fixtures, doors, architectural salvage, etc. Donations are tax-deductible and materials are sold at reduced prices making home improvements and repairs more affordable for homeowners of all income levels.
Another possibility is an architectural salvage company, such as Nor’East Architectural Antiques (www.noreast1.com). Nor’East, which operates out of a huge warehouse/showroom in South Hampton, N.H., purchases a variety of “architectural salvage and antique building materials from 1700-1940” (e.g. doors, windows, cabinetry, sinks, bathtubs, lighting, ironwork and fixtures). They buy individual items as well as items from large-scale demolition projects.
Of course, architectural salvage companies like Nor’East and EcoBuilding are also worth checking out if you want to purchase older items for your home.
Unfortunately, not everything you abandon during a renovation is suitable for recycling, donation or resale. But if you do your research on options like these, you’ll at least make your project as environmentally friendly as possible.