By Ted Reiff and Jeff Cockerell

Well, actually, not all of L.A. is moving -- just us!

2011 Reuse Contest WinnerAt The ReUse People, our mission is to keep used building materials out of landfills. However, we realize that salvaging materials is only half of the job. The other half is making sure that something useful happens to those materials.

When hiring a contractor, most building owners (particularly homeowners) gravitate to the lowest bid in order to save money. Unfortunately, by seeking the lowest price they frequently wind up with contractors who cut corners. As a licensed contractor for over 18 years, I can tell you that the first corner to be cut by many contractors is safety.

Fourth of July at The ReUse PeopleThe fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. It not only marks the beginning of a great human experiment in liberty and individual freedom, it celebrates an evolution of political thought spanning some 2,500 years—Aristotle, Cicero, Cato, the Magna Carta, John Locke, Edmond Burke and many others—which has delivered to Americans the most envied way of life in the world.

Reuse in Durham NCIn this very interesting political season, you've probably seen or heard the term, "creative destruction." It's been used repeatedly in reference to the process by which Bain Capital and other private equity firms dismantle struggling companies to allow for their reorganization and rebirth -- or, in some cases, demise. Ah, the Phoenix Rising!

Reuse in Durham NCThe building materials reuse community is comprised of many individuals and groups – preservationists, contractors, policy wonks, developers, associations, reuse retailers, government agencies, and profit and nonprofit organizations. Most of the time these various entities fail to collaborate and cooperate. All too often they openly oppose one another.

The TSTC Deconstruct TeamA couple of weeks ago I was back in Harlingen, Texas, working with Texas State Technical College (TSTC) to train workers in deconstruction. As you may recall, my October 2011 post described this particular training program and the subsequent deconstruction and building-materials reuse at TSTC.

This year TRP is taking its popular Reuse Contest national. All company and affiliate warehouses throughout the country have been invited to participate. More than a dozen have already said they will. I will announce the names and locations of participating retail outlets in next month's e-letter.

TRP 2011 Contest Winners

Thank all the donors who helped TRP return thousands of tons of reusable building materials to the marketplace in 2011

I want to start the new year by thanking all the donors who helped TRP return thousands of tons of reusable building materials to the marketplace in 2011, keeping them out of overburdened landfills. I also want to thank the numerous TRP employees who made it a successful year. Many businesses (especially nonprofits) were not so fortunate.

The year unfolded somewhat differently than the one we envisioned and budgeted. That was probably true for most organizations in our business. What made the difference were the wild swings in deconstruction activity. The year started well, both for our crews and for TRP-certified contractors. However, by June, while our contractors continued to prosper, TRP's own crews had become idle. (I wanted to blame it on the Greeks, but was unable to connect the dots across thousands of miles and a lot of water.)

TRP 2011 Reuse ContestCongratulations to Chris and Melanie Warden for capturing the top prize in this year's reuse contest.
   The goal of the TRP-sponsored contest, now in its fourth year, is to publicly demonstrate what can be done with salvaged building materials, while applauding some of the creative people who actually make reuse happen. As in past years, this year's entries revealed eye-popping skill and aesthetic sensibility. It's always fun to look at the before-and-after photos, and it's always a challenge to rank them.

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