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Recycling Post-Home Improvement Materials - Quicken Loans Zing BlogSpringtime for many homeowners means looking at the ever-growing list of home improvement projects and picking one to knock out. After diligently researching the best deals and planning an entire week around one project, you finally finished it. But wait a tick? What are you going to do with all the junk you tore out of your home?

According to Green Waste, about a third of all the waste in landfills comes from home renovation projects. From the foundation to the roof, you can recycle building materials and some things you can reuse again around your home.

Recycle Shingles

If a new roof is in your near future, you’ll have a lot of scrap shingles on your hands. Hopefully, if you hired a contractor, they’ll recycle that stuff for you. If not, your local recycle park will probably accept them. Recycled shingles are used to make new roof shingles, pothole patch asphalt, asphalt pavements and much more.

A woman picked some shingles we posted for free online a few months ago. Apparently, she used them in her garden to make pathways. It makes sense though. If you can pick up some old shingles, they’re much cheaper than bricks and other masonry.

Recycle Bricks

Our roommate brought a whole bunch of bricks home from a job he had back in the fall. I’ve been thinking about ways I can use them around the house. One idea I really liked was using the bricks to build a raised garden bed. If you already have flowerbeds, you could line those with bricks to help keep weeds and grass out.

For the more ambitious folks out there, here are a few bigger projects you could attempt. You could also try making a backyard fire or barbeque pit. The high heat tolerance of bricks makes them perfect for these DIY projects. Some people have also used old bricks to make walkways or patio areas for their homes.

Of course, you can always ask your local recycle center to take them if you don’t have the time or space to construct anything. You could also try posting your masonry material on sites like Freecycle or Craigslist to sell them for a little cash.

Recycle Wood

Scrap wood can come in handy around your home. You can use it to start fires in your fireplace, build furniture, make shelves and construct tons of other things. A friend of ours brought some old fencing over. With a little bit of thought and a few cuts here and there, we turned the old wooden fence into a raised garden bed.

If you just want to get rid of your old wood, make sure to remove the nails, screws and paint from it before you drop it off at the recycle center. Next separate out treated from untreated wood. Many recycle centers handle each type differently. Treated wood in particular may have toxic chemicals that make it more difficult to recycle. Call your recycle park ahead of time to see what their policy is for treated wood.

Recycle Drywall

As long as your drywall is lead paint, asbestos and nail free, you can recycle it. Surprisingly, I learned that the gypsum used to make drywall helps support agricultural growth. Many nurseries and parks put gypsum in the soil to lower acidity, add nutrients and improve water retention.

Recycle Carpet

A lot of homeowners opt to remove carpet in their home for new hardwood floors. Luckily for you, that old shag carpet doesn’t have to hang around your home. Most states offer some type of carpet recycling program, which you can learn more about here.

Sometimes you can even gather salvaged materials and take them to places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. They’ll take these materials and use them to build future Habitat homes or sell them in their resale locations.

You could also just sell some of your salvaged goods yourself. Websites like Freecycle and Craigslist can be great places to unload unwanted building materials cheaply.

Don’t forget to research where you can recycle building materials. Maybe you can repurpose them around your home or they can get used to build another house. The important thing to keep in mind is not adding your scrap building materials to the already overfilled landfills.

What home improvement projects are you thinking about this year? Tell us below in the comments section!


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I really like what was said about how you can recycle building materials. This is important because then you aren’t wasting materials and trees that are getting cut down. A couple of years ago I had a buddy who worked on a construction site who got permission to bring the leftover building materials to his house to add on to it. It worked out really great for him!

  2. I think that it is a great idea to reuse as much old construction material as possible. I can remember taking down a wall with my dad. We were just shortening it and moving it back so we would have more space in our dining room. I was all for smashing the wall to pieces, but my dad made me slow down and pull all the nails out that we could. Most of our second wall was built using the wood from the first wall. It was a good lesson for me. Just because the materials have been used doesn’t mean they aren’t still good.

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