Repurposing Materials: A Builder's Guide to Reuse Material

Reuse materials can be used to obtain LEED points

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Building a house or property can be expensive and can create large amount of waste. And after the construction is done, where do you think those discarded materials and waste will end up? In a landfill somewhere. But instead of throwing these materials out, why not repurpose them and turn them into something new.

Why Repurposing?

Repurposing is the process of taking old products and materials, that would otherwise end up in landfills or incinerators, and turning them around to be used for a different purpose.

Repurposing is such as wide process, and almost everything can be repurposed. Whatever supplies you need in the construction project, you can reuse materials instead of brand new ones to not only help the planet, but also save yourself some money.

What and How Can Materials Be Reused?

Discarded wood is a product that is easily, and often, repurposed. Wood such as the planks from basketball courts and from bowling alleys are unique and unusual materials that many wouldn’t think of reusing. But both of these can be turned into countertops, table tops, flooring with an interesting pattern, or even an unusual flair for a wall or ceiling. Bleachers from a high school, complete with gum, can be shined up and turned into shelves. Wooden slats from snow fences can also be pulled apart and used in similar architectural ways. Weathered wood siding can become a rustic and homey addition to a building as a floor or wall.

 Another atypical yet beautiful idea is turning ski cable into decorative railings for homes, offices, or commercial buildings This product may seem like only a length of incredibly strong wire that should never have a place in a home, but the cable can become a very unique addition to a property.

There are also many products that can be used for the outside of the building, to add an artistic or eye catching flair.

Wire screens that were once used to cover commercial air conditioners to keep things like birds and balls out of them, can be turned into an unusual fence for the outdoors of an estate. Old pool covers can be turned into awnings for the front of the building. And once again, discarded wood can be used to create gazebos, swings, garden boxes, decks, and many other things as well.

    Products from house and other buildings can also be on the opposite side of the repurposing process. They can provide products to be repurposed for other industries. The cast off materials from renovations or demolitions could possibly be helpful for other people in their businesses.  Roofing membrane from a house can be using as industrial strength weed barrier for landscapers. Insulation can be used by contractors to keep underground waterlines from freezing.

What Benefits Can be Obtained from Repurposing?

Using repurposed materials instead of brand new products is a cost efficient change. As Benjamin Franklin, the father of our country, once said, 'A penny saved is a penny earned.' And by spending your money on these materials instead of brand new products for your business,  you can save yourself that penny.

But repurposing isn’t just good for your wallet and your finances, it’s also good for the planet, keeping tons of waste out of landfills, and keeping earth liveable for at least a little longer.

Repurposing is an uncommon and amazing process that can take a product that already has one idea or purpose associated with it, and use those products for something completely new. It’s a process that helps the planet and your wallet. But it’s also an idea that can bring new customers to your table, customers that are interested in 'green construction.' Repurposing is an idea that is beneficial to you, the planet, and your customers.