A home remodelling project can often feel like a never ended slew of rubble and bricks. And for the most part, that is true But one of the most exciting parts of remodelling your home is the sheer amount of possibility. Many people don’t factor into a remodel that much of the materials can be safely recycled. From cable recycling to reclaiming old doors – here are some tips for the three Rs.

Which materials can I reuse, recycle or reclaim?

Anything that is hard plastic, metal or wood can usually be recycled with ease. The only issue is that any of these that have been chemically treated isn’t suitable. 

The chemical leaches out into the surrounding areas and can be harmful to the environment. 

Likewise, if you find something you wish to use within your home, you need to check to ensure that it hasn’t been chemically treated. 

White goods and most appliances can be recycled, but you will need to work with a professional recycling company. If the appliance is in good working order, it can often be donated to shelters. Be sure to check all of the options.

If you have decided to remove and replace the roof, this can be one of the biggest waste generators. Sheathing, unfortunately, cannot be reused – however, paper-based sheathing can be recycled.

Asphalt shingles last over 20 years, so they can be reused and recycled. 

Light bulbs and lighting fixtures can often be reused since they are hardwearing. Often the retro and vintage ones can fetch a pretty penny when sold. 

Flooring and countertops can be reused, reclaimed or recycled – for the flooring; it needs to be in safe order. Wood, laminate and bamboo flooring can be recycled with ease. However, most often, carpet can’t be recycled, but it can be reused. 

Things like stone or marble countertops can be smashed up and used for flooring slabs or to create a backsplash. Donating the counter to charity or selling it is a great way to ensure that hard-wearing material is used again. 

How can you reduce your remodelling waste?

As you can see, there is a long list of possibilities for reusing, recycling and recycling building materials. 

To make sure that it is possible for you, the first thing to do is only work with a remodelling company that has recycling and reusing policies. This will mean they are already equipped to handle the task. 

Planning ahead will mean that you can plan to upcycle and repurpose things like cabinets, faucets or other items. 

Depending on the quality of the items that you are removing, you may consider posting a notice in the local paper or online so that people can come and take the things off your hands. It’s up to you if you would like to sell them or give them away. 

You can also speak to your contractor, as they likely have plenty of contacts who prefer to use materials that have been sourced rather than purchased as new. 

And finally, a crucial part of the process is to –  where possible – close the loop. That means using recycled and reclaimed items in your building process. 

Check out our Sustainability archive for other great tips.


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