5 Materials from Your Home Repair You Should Recycle

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Anyone familiar with home repair can tell you that there is usually some kind of debris left over. No matter what the project, anytime something new goes in, something old is discarded. That said, there are some unexpected recyclables hidden among your home repair rubble, and with a little extra effort, you can help ensure that they serve a second life rather than waste away. Check out five common items that often end up wasted:

1. Shingles

Not only are asphalt shingles perfectly recyclable, but once collected, they’re manufactured into hot mix asphalt and used to pave roads. The shingles from one average-sized home can pave 200 feet of a two lane highway.

Each year, approximately 10 million tons of asphalt shingles are torn off of homes. Today, nearly 60 percent of the U.S. population lives within 30 miles of a shingle recycling facility. Owens Corning Roofing’s industry leading Shingle Recycling Program has already recycled 738,605 tons since the program’s 2009 kick-off.

If a roof repair is in your future, it’s worthwhile to check out your local recycling options beforehand and to choose a contractor who recycles. The Owens Corning Roofing Preferred Contractor Shingle Recycling Program helps connect home owners with contractors who have pledged to recycle.

2. Drywall

Drywall (sheet rock, gypsum board, wall board and plaster board) is 100 percent recyclable.

Drywall scraps are a common result of most demolition projects, and even without demo, about 12 percent of drywall is wasted during installation alone. Many facilities accept drywall scraps for recycling as long as they are free of foreign objects such as wires, nails and screws and haven’t been painted with a lead-based paint.

You may also have organizations in your area like Habitat for Humanity that will accept drywall via donation for reuse, but be sure to check for specifications regarding size or condition. Find your best local option using Earth911’s recycling directory.

3. Paint

Paint is among the most common home improvement materials, and it’s also quite common to have some left over. Paint can contain ingredients that are hazardous to the environment, so it should never be thrown away or dumped outside. Whether you’re cleaning out old cans from the garage or have fresh paint left over from a recent renovation, it’s important to dispose of it responsibly.

Making sure your paint gets reused or recycled is probably easier than you think. In most cases, it’s as simple as dropping it for off at your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility. You may also be able to donate your extra paint to a local good-cause program depending on the quantity and quality. You can check out Earth911’s directory for your local paint recycling solutions.

4. Brick

As a building material, brick is one of the most environmentally friendly options on the market as it is sustainably produced and both easily reused or recycled.

Used brick has risen in popularity in recent years because it can offer an aged or unique aesthetic to various home and garden projects. Good quality brick can usually be donated to organizations like Habitat for Humanity or building supply companies and sometimes even be sold to local masonry companies for resale as aged brick. Lower quality brick is typically ground up to make concrete.

If you’ve got old, unused or damaged bricks to get rid of, don’t throw them out — check Earth911’s directory to see your best local option for recycling or reuse.

5. Carpet

Carpet is recyclable, but it is a more complicated material than your average curbside collection items like bottles and cans, so it requires a little extra effort.

Carpet has two components, the backing system and the face fiber (the part you walk on), and is made of multiple substances which are subject to change depending on the type of carpet you have on hand.

In 2012, about 7 billion pounds of old carpet were expected to be generated. While carpet recycling is still limited in some areas, it is gaining steam in others. If you recently purchased new carpet, your dealer is a great place to start to find some local recycling solutions.

You can also hit up Earth911’s recycling search, or visit the Carpet America Recovery Effort.

Editor’s Note: Earth911 partners with many industries, manufacturers and organizations to support its Recycling Directory, the largest in the nation, which is provided to consumers at no cost. Owens Corning Roofing is one of these partners.

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