Reusing is a core Lazy Environmentalist tenet — as long as it’s easy and convenient to do. And when it comes to home renovation, the easiest places to turn for high-quality, affordable, recycled building elements are the retailers that specialize in these salvaged materials.
The Building Material Reuse Association maintains an extensive online directory of salvage retailers throughout the United States. A quick search reveals providers in every state who offer everything from walnut flooring to granite countertops. Remember, just because a material is reused doesn’t mean it will necessarily look reused. And installing reused materials in your home means you are respecting your wallet while extending the useful life of quality products (and keeping them out of landfills).
Necessity is the mother of invention
Like MetroPaint in Portland, Ore., The Green Project also recycles and reprocesses leftover paint and makes it available to residents for $5 a gallon. Other major salvage warehouse retailers like Second Use in Seattle, Wash., divert as much as 60 to 100 tons of quality reusable building materials from the landfill each month. You’ll find items such as appliances, cabinets, sinks, countertops, doors, flooring, lighting fixtures, lumber, tiles, plumbing fixtures, windows and more — all at reasonable prices. Driftwood Salvage, based in East Palo-Alto, Calif., not only sells salvaged materials, but also uses reused materials to create its own line of affordable reclaimed products. Reclaimed wood butcher block countertops sell for about $20 per square foot. Finely crafted garden trellises are available for $179.99, and a sturdy reclaimed wood compost box sells for $199.99.
Don't forget Habitat's ReStores
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Excerpted from Josh's recently published book, "The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget."