Did you know that construction waste is the top type of waste added to any landfill? According to a 2018 EPA study, “the construction industry contributed more than 600 million tons of waste to landfills, and of that 600 million, 90% was contributed from demolitions.”
During a remodel, however, there are a couple of easy solutions that can reduce this waste and save costs. When removing what is currently in your home, follow the three D’s to reduce waste and save money: Deconstruct, Donate, and Deduct. Shopping for used items for your remodel will cost less than new items and save waste from the landfill, and in turn, your removed items can help another homeowner save money.
Deconstruct: We have all seen those remodel shows where they take a sledgehammer to a perfectly good cabinet set. It makes for some great television, but if you are like me, it hurts to watch reusable items be destroyed. Instead, you can choose deconstruction rather than demolition. Deconstruction is a process where items will be carefully removed from a home so they can be reused. There are so many items from a home remodel that can be saved and reused: kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, doors, windows, light fixtures, and more. Any item that can be removed in good condition can be reused on another project. This will even make your remodel project more cost effective by reducing dumpster costs.
Donate: Once items are removed from homes they can be donated to local nonprofits to be sold to the public. Most local nonprofits, such as Habitat for Humanity that sell construction materials will have a pickup service. So once the items have been removed from the house all you need to do is call and they will pick the items up and take them to their resale stores. There are even local nonprofits that will actually do the deconstruction for you. They will come in with a team of experienced volunteers, and remove all the items that you want to donate. Items will typically be removed from your house and put up for sale the same day. Since these nonprofits utilize volunteers and resell the removed items, this service is very inexpensive. By deconstructing and donating, you’re helping other families save money, reducing construction waste, and supporting the cause that makes it happen.
Deduct: Did you know if you donate the items removed to a local non-profit, that donation becomes tax deductible? You will be able to save on your taxes during your remodel. When the value of your donation exceeds five thousand dollars, you will be able to fill out a form 8283 for noncash charitable contributions. You can determine the value of items that you donated by working with a tax professional.
When it comes time to purchase for your remodel, consider the more environmentally conscious approach. Shop around for great used items looking for a new home. Check out your local nonprofits that sell reclaimed building materials like bathroom vanities, kitchen cabinet sets, doors, and appliances. It can add to the excitement of your remodel, as there are some real hidden gems at these stores. When you purchase from one of these nonprofits, not only will you save lots but you will help move their mission forward with your purchase. The items that you buy for your remodel will then also be kept out of the landfill so you can feel good about knowing you have helped give a second life to items that may have otherwise ended up in the dump.
We can all make an impact on the environment with our choices. Let your remodel be greener for you and the environment.
Local businesses that sell reused building materials:
- Coats Surplus
- Hill Top Barn Wood Shop
- Scroungers Paradise
- Old Town Salvage Company
- Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity Restore
Colin is the Deconstruction supervisor for the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. For more information about deconstruction or purchasing reclaimed materials connect with Colin at Cbristow@ashevillehabitat.org