Family Recycles Home for $100,000


After tearing down their 2,250-square-foot home in Danville, Calif., Mike and Tricia Barry walked away with more than just a clean slate. The couple received a $100,000 tax write-off as well.

Photo: Jim Stevens/McClatchy Newspapers

After deconstruction, the only items left to throw away were the asbestos-ridden drywall and the stucco exterior. Photo: Jim Stevens/McClatchy Newspapers

Instead of tearing down the home and sending it to a landfill, the Barrys opted to have the home deconstructed piece by piece and recycled into new homes.

California Deconstruction and Building Materials ReUse Network hauled the excess material to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Corazón, which builds homes in northern Baja California, Mexico.

According to The Seattle Times, “nearly everything that made up the house — wood, windows, appliances, flooring, roofing and even the nails — went to nonprofit organizations.”

“I’d say 80 to 85 percent of the Barry house was reused,” says Gerald Long, of Corazón. “Even the copper plumbing was recycled, the bricks were saved and all the interior fixtures were saved.”

Habitat for Humanity has found a way to keep thousands of tons of surplus construction materials out of the waste stream, while also raising money for homebuilding through its Habitat ReStores. ReStores sell salvaged building supplies and appliances across the U.S. and Canada.

“Our primary goal is always to raise money for more homebuilding, but at the same time, we’re able to keep tons of potential trash out of the landfills,” explains Kevin Campbell, Habitat for Humanity’s director of building industry relations. “And the rule of thumb is that every dollar in sales equates to about one pound of debris being saved from the landfill.”

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