Recycle, Reuse and Renovate!

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Warm weather means renovation season is nearly here. Many of us ponder about all of those tasks (large and small) we’ve been meaning to get to around the house. From painting, to installing new lighting, to renovating an entire room or floor. Home renovations involve a lot of materials that can end up in the landfill. Most common building materials—wood, plastic, steel, brick, drywall, concrete, which can be recycled or reclaimed for future use. Here are some choices you can make while in the middle of a renovation project that will help you have a positive impact on the environment:

Recycling Content

Ask your contractor how to recycle old or leftover materials. And where possible, specify new products that feature at least 25 percent post-consumer recycled materials. Some materials, such as composite decking, often contain recycled plastic resins and can be recycled again. The same potential exists for old copper or brass pipe, electrical wiring, and aluminum or vinyl siding.

 

Used building Supplies

Purchase recycled supplies from second hand building stores, such as Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Not only will you save up to 80 per cent – compared with buying new – you’ll also be helping to decrease the amount of refuse ending up in overcrowded landfills.

 

Hazardous Waste

What do you do with hazardous waste like leftover paint and empty paint cans? It’s important that you not wash these items into your waste disposal where it might leak into local streams or pollute ponds. The paint and empty cans should be carefully disposed of at your local hardware store or contact your solid waste provider.

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Donate What’s Left

Are there items you simply can’t stand to put back into your remodeled home? Perhaps there is a row of cabinets from the master bathroom that you hate. Instead of throwing them out, consider donating them to an organization such as Habitat for Humanity, or reuse those cabinets in your garage where you don’t mind how they look.

 

By salvaging building materials, and recycling as much as we can of what’s left over, we can reduce our environmental impact while renovating! Happy Renos!

 

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About the Author
Prabhjit K. Banga

Prabh’s environmental journey began in 1992 when she discovered a passion for green living after watching the cartoon movie, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. Since then she has been an avid environmentalist for over 20 years, cultivating sustainability within her own personal and professional life. She went on to complete her Master in Resource and Environmental Management from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. During her Master’s degree, Prabh worked on policy oriented research on sustainability reporting frameworks, community based social marketing, resource efficiency and waste management practices. Prabh is currently the Manager of Strategy Development & Corporate Sustainability at Toronto Pearson Airport. Prabh leads the development and delivery of the airport’s sustainability strategy. Prabh enjoys reading and writing about the environment and loves to share her tips and passion for living sustainably.

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2 comments
  1. Zequek Estrada at 8:44 pm

    It’s amazing that buying recycled supplied can save you up to 80% compared to purchasing new materials. That would be a real life safer for the renovations I want to be done to my home. It’ll probably also allow me to do more renovations than I planned for.

  2. Tammy C at 1:01 pm

    When you’re renovating or doing any type of demolition where does all the debris go? Contractors would use typically use black plastic contractor bags to dispose of the waste however there is a better and more Eco-friendly way to take care of that now. Reusable construction demo bags are a great alternative to garbage bags. They’re actually more cost effective being that they can be used up to about 5 times.

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