What is Reuse?

It’s 88 degrees in late June, and in a neighborhood not too far from my DC apartment, there is a half-a-million dollar home being remodeled. Workers are running in and out of the wide open door, carrying cabinets, tiles, and appliances out to the 15-yard dumpster thats sitting out front while dust and debris piles up. There was nothing particularly wrong with the current kitchen that’s being destroyed, but the style is not quite what the new owners prefer, and since this is their first home – one they’ve been saving up for a decade to buy – they wanted to make sure it looks nearly perfect. Brand new kitchen cabinets and appliances, which they have been waiting on for quite some time due to the current supply chain issues, are set to be installed and they can’t wait to try out their new granite counter top. So why am I writing out this story? well the thing is, unbeknownst to these new home-owners, they could have saved money and helped reduce their carbon footprint by engaging in reuse and the circular economy.

From saving money in their new kitchen by finding high quality second-hand sinks or fixtures to saving money on both the waste disposal and old kitchen removal. The reuse economy can also help homeowners get tax savings by donating their old materials to non-profits and families that would love their old kitchen or bathroom.

The thing is according to the EPA, 45 million tons of construction material ends up in US landfills each year. This is material that can be reused, and is often practically brand new.  Kitchen sinks, toilets, carpets, cabinets, wooden floors–all items that builders, in a hurry to finish remodeling jobs, are paying to haul away to landfills. This is value lost.

This is where construction reuse comes in. To capture this value. Here in the DMV, there are a handful of non-profit and for-profit organizations that are working to reduce the waste to landfills. Homeowners who are looking to remodel their homes can call or email them to see if they can donate their soon-to-be demolished kitchens, bathrooms or living rooms. Many of them offer free pick up and will help you deconstruct your home for free.

As a homeowner, not only do you get a tax write off, you are also helping to reduce your carbon footprint, and helping a family get something they will love and cherish for a fraction of the price.

That is the beauty of reuse. At a time when the cost of everything, and especially construction material is at an all time high, there is a great option to help other families have the kitchen or bathroom of their dreams for a fraction of the price. So please, if you are soon to be remodeling any room in your home, reach out to one of the organizations below to see how they can help you be a better steward of the community, the environment, and be a light for someone else. And also feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or comments about reuse. Click here for a list compiled by the DC government of local Zero Waste Resources.

3 responses to “What is Reuse?”

  1. […] our quest to making the shopping of secondhand remodeling material more accessible we’ve explored what reuse material is, why we should shop it, and where to find these treasures. Today, we want to focus […]

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