Home renovation

10 eco-friendly ways to limit home improvement waste

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It’s exciting to give your home the facelift you’ve always dreamed of. However, renovations can also be time-consuming and tiring, which can leave you less motivated to properly dispose of construction and demolition debris.

Unfortunately, most homes aren’t usually built with sustainable, compostable or eco-friendly materials like marble, bamboo, and cork, so remodeling can affect your ecological footprint. In fact, the EPA estimates that approximately 600 million tons of construction and demolition debris were generated in the United States in 2018.

Don’t let that put you off renovating, though. Many experts agree that retrofitting older homes with sustainable materials and renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, is good for the environment. Just be sure to keep these 10 eco-friendly ways to limit waste in mind when renovating your home.

1. Donate before you throw away

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One of the easiest ways to reduce waste on a remodeling project is to donate any outdated or unused furniture. That doesn’t mean you have to take every scrap piece you no longer want to the nearest donation center, but if you have furniture or appliances in good condition, those items can probably find a home with a new owner. grateful.

2. Use low VOC paint

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There are few home improvement projects more common than painting, so it’s important to learn how to reduce harmful chemical waste caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) often found in paint. The first method to reduce this type of chemical waste is to simply choose another type of paint. Many companies now offer no-VOC or low-VOC paint products to use in place of standard paint.

If you’re fixated on a certain type of paint and don’t want to switch to a no-VOC or low-VOC option, you can always limit its environmental impact with responsible disposal. Avoid pouring paint down the drain or into a storm drain. Instead, check with the local recycling center or waste management center to find out how to properly dispose of your paint and paint cans.

3. Renovate instead of replace

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It can be tempting to pull out the hammer and start swinging, but many items can be refinished to look brand new, saving you money in the long run. A common example is refinishing kitchen cabinets and replacing hardware, as new cabinets are expensive and require installation experience. Another sustainable choice can be made with old leather furniture, which can be reupholstered instead of thrown away.

Related: 7 Bad Reasons to Renovate Your Home

4. Sell old appliances and accessories

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In addition to donating, selling furniture, appliances, and accessories can allow you to recoup the original cost of some of these items. Whether it’s through a garage sale or an online ad, you can usually find someone who will buy your old household goods.

Just keep in mind that if you’re asking for money, it’s important to make sure these items still look and work as advertised. For heavy or broken items like old refrigerators, some retailers even offer pickup with the purchase of a new appliance, and scrap recyclers often take them too.

5. Reduce packaging

eco-friendly ways to renovate a home

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Online purchases and many in-store purchases come in durable packaging to keep items safe during transit. However, after opening the item’s packaging, you have to deal with the waste. Fortunately, today’s drive to improve waste management and sustainability has led many companies to implement recycling programs to take back customer packaging and reuse materials.

Check with manufacturers before making purchases to see if they have any of these programs, or ask about other packaging waste recycling options. If the answer is no, go to a local recycling center for collection and proper disposal.

6. Reuse old rugs

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Carpets are regularly replaced during home renovations, but even worn and stained carpets can still be reused. If the rug is in good condition, cut it into rug-sized pieces and use them as rugs around the house. Be sure to use tape to sew the edges or sew a seam along the edge of the rug to prevent it from fraying and falling apart over time.

If you’re dealing with an older rug that would only negatively impact the aesthetics of your home in rug-sized pieces, cutting it up can still help. The old mat is great for a child’s art station because it’s comfortable to stand on and it doesn’t matter if paint, playdough or mud gets on it. Likewise, you can kneel on a small piece of carpet when working under the sink or lie on a larger section when working under the car.

Related: What’s the difference? Renovation or renovation?

7. Dispose of hazardous waste responsibly

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Even the most creative do-it-yourselfer can’t reuse everything, and some types of renovation waste can cause serious environmental damage if not disposed of with care.

Batteries, paint thinner, paint cans, furniture cleaners, etc. are generally labeled as hazardous waste. This is because either they contain dangerous chemicals or their ingredients will decay into environmental hazards over time. Avoid creating environmental problems by taking these items to a local waste recycling center.

8. Recycle old materials

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A local recycling and waste disposal center is the best source to help dispose of waste properly. Not only will they have up-to-date information on local regulations and restrictions regarding waste disposal and recycling, but the processing professionals who work there will know the best ways to handle construction and demolition waste.

If you don’t have access to a truck to transport materials, consider hiring a waste disposal company that uses upfront and environmentally friendly waste disposal processes. Many of these companies have recycling plans to deal with waste in an environmentally friendly way, such as using concrete for clean fill or wood for biomass energy.

9. Sell scrap

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Scrap metal is one of the best wastes to have on hand, as many recycling centers will buy it from you. Almost everything from copper water pipes to nuts and bolts can be sold. Even if you’re just refinishing your kitchen cabinets and replacing hardware, collect old metal handles and hinges in a bucket and keep them in the garage or shed. When you have accumulated a significant amount of scrap, take it to the nearest scrap collector for recycling and you will receive compensation based on the type(s) of metal, weight, and current market price.

Keep in mind that you will generally make more money for “clean” metal. This refers to metal that is sorted by type and has no welds, fittings, or other construction debris attached.

Related: 7 Ways to Reduce Waste When Moving

10. Consider future renovation waste

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While this is helpful, it’s not enough to pay attention to how you dispose of your renovation waste. It’s also important to keep in mind that at some point in the future, someone will need to take care of the items you install.

Whether or not you are the one doing these future renovations, using sustainable building materials in your renovation projects will reduce the construction and demolition waste produced by your home. Consider investing in bamboo, cork, precast concrete, or marble materials to enhance sustainable living efforts and reduce future waste.