Donate or Recycle Your Home Remodeling Materials
Anyone who has visited a home remodeling project site during the demolition phase might think those huge piles of busted-up wood, drywall, brick, metal, glass and concrete are destined for a landfill. Not so fast!
A large portion of construction and demolition materials can be reused and recycled, which eases up the strain on local landfills. In addition, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by lessening the need to produce new materials.
The following is a general guide to donating and finding construction and demolition materials. Since every city has different resources and methods for dealing with waste products, consider this a starting point.
What Building Materials are Reusable and Recyclable?
As a general rule, try to reuse or salvage materials first and once those options are exhausted, turn to recycling. Here is a list of items to reuse or donate:
- Bathroom fixtures
- Ceiling tiles
- Dimensional lumber
- Landscaping materials
- Lighting fixtures
- Metal framing
- Oriented strand board and plywood
- Trim and antique molding
- Wood beams and posts
Then there are materials that can be taken to a recycling facility and made into new materials. These are home items to recycle:
- Acoustical ceiling tiles
- Asphalt shingles
- Carpet and carpet pad
- Fluorescent lights and ballast
- Land clearing debris (foliage, stumps, dirt)
- Paint (use a hazardous waste outlet)
- Plastic film (sheeting, shrink wrap, packaging)
- Window glass
Where to Donate or Get Used Building Materials
The Freecycle Network — Made up of more than 5,000 groups, this global nonprofit’s mission is to keep “good stuff out of landfills.” Connect with other residents to give and receive building materials, furniture, toilets, appliances, carpet and more, by browsing your city’s Freecycle listings.
Habitat for Humanity ReStores — Located all over the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia, these popular nonprofit home improvement stores accept new and gently used appliances, furniture, building materials, household goods and more. You can also purchase items from the stores.
Construction & Demolition Recycling Association — The CDRA Promotes the recycling of materials like concrete, asphalt, shingles, gypsum drywall, wood and metals. Use their website to search for construction and demolition recycling companies in your area.
Building Materials Reuse Association — As a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the recovery, reuse and recycling of building materials, the BMRA’s website features a directory where you can enter your city to find local places to donate and buy wood materials like barn wood, furniture, countertops, l-joists, doors, windows, fiberboard, engineered flooring and more.