An Inspiring Example of Creative Reuse

By Cheryl Sharp

Having worked in the deconstruction business for over six years, I often wonder why people even consider straight demolition in this day and age.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the process of building a 2,000 square-foot home generates 8,000 pounds of construction waste on average. And that’s to BUILD a home! EPA figures indicate that about a quarter of a million homes are demolished every year. Each one weighs about 80 tons. Of that, 40 tons are concrete, which is generally recycled. The other 40 tons consist of lumber and fixtures -- the parts of a home people actually live with.

Multiply 40 times 250,000, add in construction waste, and you can see why, yearly, 136 million tons of construction and demolition waste are tossed into our nation’s landfills.

When will people learn? There is a real simple solution that could divert most used building materials and give them a second life. TRP can salvage up to 90 percent of the non-concrete materials in an average house. That’s 36 tons. Many of those materials are still in great shape and can be reused.

To illustrate, I’m sharing photos of a home currently being constructed of reused materials that were donated by homeowners who deconstructed (rather than demolished) their homes in order to rebuild or remodel. All of the used materials were purchased from The ReUse People.

The used materials include lumber, windows, doors, kitchen cabinets, appliances, light fixtures, wrought iron gates, sidewalk tile, roofing materials, beams, hardwood flooring, vanities, stained glass windows, bricks, fireplace mantle and screen. Even the dining table and chairs are built from old lumber. The only exceptions are the plumbing, wiring, stucco and drywall.

I hope that seeing these photos gives you an idea what can be done, just in case you someday decide to remodel or rebuild your home. Get TRP involved in deconstructing your home and putting the materials to good use. For doing the right thing for our environment, you can very likely claim a sizeable tax deduction.

Donated materials can be purchased at TRP warehouses and partnering outlets throughout the United States. The materials in these photos happened to come from the TRP warehouse in Pacoima, California.

The practice of reuse extended the life of almost every item in this beautiful home, in the process saving energy, money and overburdened landfills and giving the home tons of character and warmth.

So, kudos to the builder and his family!
Cheryl Sharp is TRP Southern California Regional Manager, serving San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Imperial Counties and Palm Desert.

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