Buresh Home Solutions is participating in the “Responsible Remodeling” program that has both local and global implications. The initiative is designed to go “beyond green” to include both environmentally-friendly and economically-sensitive solutions to the problem of remodeling and construction waste clogging the country’s landfills.
According to the EPA, nearly 53 million tons of used building materials are hauled away from residential remodeling sites and discarded in landfills each and every year. Even more startling is that much of that waste – some estimates put it at between 85 and 90 percent – could have been recycled.
It was figures like these that prompted me to take meaningful steps to reduce the amount of waste the remodeling company contributes to the problem. I’m trying to take the axiom “think globally, act locally” to heart and find ways to could divert material away from the landfill for the good of the planet and the local community.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – ReStore
Just such an opportunity exists not far from the BHS offices in the form of a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Habitat’s ReStore is a resale outlet that sells reusable and surplus building materials, donated from contractors like us, to the public for a fraction of the retail price. There are currently ReStore locations in 48 states in U.S. and all throughout Canada. Proceeds from each ReStore outlet help local Habitat affiliates fund the construction of Habitat homes within their communities.
By donating materials that we remove from clients’ homes, such as windows, doors, cabinets, and countertops, we not only reduces the amount of material headed for the landfill, but also support the efforts of Habitat for Humanity worldwide and right here in Central Iowa. Additionally, such contributions provide an opportunity for homeowners to purchase perfectly viable materials for their own home improvement projects at a fraction of what they’d pay at retail – a welcome resource in challenging economic times.
Of course, we always take great care when working around a customer’s home. But now we are extra careful with the components even after they’re removed because we know they’re going to the ReStore and probably into another home just down the street.
As for those materials that can’t be reused, we’re finding ways to lessen their environmental impact, as well. In particular, we now sends asphalt shingles removed from client homes to a grinding and recycling center rather than the landfill. The extra time and expense of separating the shingles from other job-site material along with making special trips to the recycling center is a small price to pay. Asphalt shingles are a petroleum-based product – which makes them one of the worst things you can put into a landfill. But once they’re ground up, they can be used in asphalt for paving and road repair.
So, along with reducing petroleum-based products winding up in the landfill, recycling shingles also reduces the amount of new asphalt that has to be produced – a process which consumes a great deal of energy and contributes to greenhouse gases.
Admittedly, the actions of a single residential remodeling contractor may seem minuscule in the scheme of things, but I hopes our commitment to “Responsible Remodeling” will inspire others in this industry to make similar pledges to reuse and recycle construction materials whenever possible.