The practice is catching on in our area thanks to organizations like our partners the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse. Their mission is one we all can benefit from. Working with builders, homeowners, and suppliers, they collect, store, and resell materials that in the past would have ended up at a landfill. In the remodeling business one can accumulate excess or unused materials that often end up collecting dust in perpetual storage. Tile, molding , misordered doors, windows, cabinets, hardware, lighting and plumbing fixtures, etc., can sit for years without a home. What a blessing it is to have a place to send it to and know the items will be put to good use - and get a tax break for the effort.
In the past Benvenuti and Stein cleaned its storage area of items that had been sitting for years and donated those items to Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse. Recently we took this process to the next level when we demolished a home that was originally built in 1920s and remodeled numerous times. Sadly, it was beyond salvation. While the plan was to recycle the foundation and structure to meet local code requirements, we chose to partner with Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse to salvage and donate numerous items from inside the home before it was demolished. We carefully removed many interior items that typically go to the dump. Wood strip flooring, stairs, windows, fireplaces,
doors, tubs, sinks, cabinets, furnaces, piping, hardware etc. While the overall house was tired and obsolete, many of its finishes and fixtures had more life to offer. In some cases deconstruction can involve the complete disassembling of a home piece by piece and may take weeks to accomplish. There are numerous companies that have sprouted around the country who specialize in the process. Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse is one of the pioneers in our area and works with Dave Bennink, owner of RE-USE Consulting to model the process for their associates and members. Dave travels around the country and teaches about the values of recycling and trains individuals about safety on the job site and how to take buildings apart gently. His effort is helping foster a new industry; one that benefits the environment; provides a source of employment; provides salvageable items for resale; and provides a tax break for the homeowners. Those that shop at ERW get great deals and can find hidden gems in the mix. From furnaces to flooring, faucets to light fixtures, windows to wood work; ERW has a huge inventory to choose from. For example, one can buy a complete kitchen with appliances at a fraction of the cost of brand new. A vanity or tub perhaps, or stained glass window-the inventory and possibilities are endless and there is growing demand from a broad community who find real value and usefulness reusing salvaged materials. In the end, everyone wins!
Benvenuti and Stein will continue to explore ways to reduce the environmental impact of construction and remodeling projects. We are always looking for partners and methods to assist our efforts to be good community stewards.