Friday, June 19, 2009


Metaefficient - For "D.I.Y."ers, using recycled construction products is a great way to reduce raw material consumption and lessen stress on landfills. But for retailers, the "Re I. Y." trend (Re-use It Yourself) is taking the idea a step further, giving unused building products a new lease on life.

The idea of reusing building materials is certainly nothing new, and in the past it was a trend borne of simple necessity. Ancient cave dwellers and frontier settlers alike had to use the materials available to them, or else do without. But in the age of global shipping and super-size home-improvement stores, many consumers don't think twice about where their building supplies come from, or where they go after a project is complete. According to a recent Buildings magazine article, construction and demolition projects account for up to 30% of the US waste stream . . .

Here in the US, Habitat for Humanity operates a nationwide retail chain called ReStore, which sells both used building supplies and new, surplus products left over when projects are completed. Items may be donated by contractors, or even provided by other retailers. ReStore outlets also support their local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and some of the most successful locations generate enough funding to finance the construction of 10 new houses each year.