With the economy as it stands now, more and more people are doing their home remodeling projects on their own. In an effort to perpetuate green remodeling, many are using more ecologically sound building materials. Even so, what happens to the waste that you have left over once the project is finished?

Home remodeling projects can be costly and not too terribly great for the environment. Throwing away all of that lumber, drywall, carpet, tile, roofing shingles and anything you take out of your home that wasn’t too eco-friendly in the first place can fill a landfill. In fact, most of it does. Used building materials make up a good sized corner of the trash heap. What can you do about it?

Recycling Materials for a Total Green Remodeling

Here are some suggestions for ways to use those used building materials so that they all don’t end up in the landfill.

    Sell them – You’d be surprised what other people might find useful. Looking to replace your appliances with newer models? Instead of throwing the used building materials on the trash heap (even though they are still in usable condition), give someone else the benefit of what is left of their lifespan. Clean appliances like microwave ovens and stoves and donate them Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you want to make a bit of change, sell them on Craigslist or hold a yard sale.
    Recycle them – Check with your local recycling facility to see what types of building materials they will accept for reprocessing. Lumber is a big winner as long as it is untreated. It can be chipped up to make mulch for gardens. Check first to see if they offer a separate recycling option for treated wood.  In either case, remove any metal and other substances from the wood before recycling it.

Drywall can even be recycled in some areas. The gypsum is used in the soil to reduce acidity levels and to support growth.

Recycle carpet if you have some to throw away. When homeowners switch to hardwood or laminate flooring, there are several square feet of carpet that is thrown in the garbage. Instead, donate it to non-profit construction groups like Habitat for Humanity. Sections of your carpet could be cleaned and reused successfully in new buildings.

    Repurpose them – In an effort to preserve green remodeling and its principles, see what new purpose these items can find in your home. For instance, if you are removing bricks, use them to construct an outdoor barbeque pit or a raised garden bed. Chairs can be repurposed as eclectic garden furniture.

Talk to your contractor. Find out what they plan to do with the used building materials that are left over from home remodeling. If you are doing most of the work yourself, use the above suggestions to recycle as much as you can.

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