Shrinking footprints, building dreams
From enabling responsible construction to providing low-cost items to residents, the community benefits of reclaiming building materials through deconstruction are undeniable. But just how much landfill waste is saved by choosing deconstruction?
“Every dollar that [ReStore] generates saves 1 pound of material from entering the landfill,” said Chris Booher, manager of Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona‘s Mesa Restore. “Ten to 20 years ago, this was all going into the landfill or to other sources.”
With more than 800 ReStore locations in the U.S. alone, it’s easy to see how the waste-saving benefits add up – a fact that is not lost on ReStore donors from across the nation.
“I don’t see how [deconstruction] wouldn’t be the right choice,” said David Swartz, who opted for deconstruction when he and his wife, Lisa, purchased a plot of land in Raleigh, N.C. and decided to demolish the existing home for a fresh start.
“You’re saving 85 percent of the house from going into a dump, and it’s a good community project for kids that volunteer,” he continued. “There are a lot of pros for doing it, and I can’t see any cons.”
About 15 percent of the building materials, fixtures and furnishings sold in Habitat ReStores come from deconstruction projects. The remainder is donated by residents through drop-off and pick-up services – making it even more important to educate community members about rescuing usable materials from the landfill, Deconstruction Manager Joel Lubell said.
“We have to raise awareness of reused materials and what they’re capable of doing,” said Lubell, who recently built a 1,200-square-foot woodworking shop in his backyard from ReStore materials. “They have a tremendous amount of character and a story to them.”
For Lubell, helping Habitat for Humanity fund community projects is only one benefit of the Raleigh-area deconstruction program. Giving residents an outlet to share the story of their old homes while providing necessary materials to neighbors is what really keeps him coming back.
“My passion for the materials has grown with my success here [at Habitat],” he said. “And I get to do all of this…to help provide housing for people that need safer, more affordable housing and give people a start on their dreams.”
Want to lend a helping hand?
If you’re considering a remodel or whole home deconstruction, consider working with Habitat for Humanity ReStore to reclaim the materials for reuse and recycling. Contact a local affiliate in your area for more information.
Or, if you’re in need of some new-to-you furniture, appliances or materials for an upcoming remodel, use the Habitat for Humanity directory to find a ReStore near you.
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