Consider These Green Materials & Resources for Your Kitchen
When it comes to green remodeling and construction, conserving materials is just as important as conserving energy and water. "Reduce, reuse, recycle" is the mantra of the conservation movement and applies to kitchens as well as to paper and plastic. Many building products can be recycled or reused, saving money as well as the environment.
For starters, don't take the Extreme Home Makeover approach to demolition. Running into your kitchen at full speed, sledgehammer in hand, might reduce stress levels, but it's also dangerous and wasteful. When carefully removed, cabinets, plumbing and lighting fixtures, appliances, countertops and hardware can be used in another room of your home, sold or traded via the Internet, or donated to a charitable organization.
When choosing products and materials for your own kitchen, look at salvage, resale and antique stores. You could score a one-of-a-kind find to customize your kitchen, or just find satisfaction in knowing that you saved a tree by using reclaimed lumber.
Materials exchanges allow businesses, nonprofits and individuals to trade, sell and buy surplus or used products, including a full range of building supplies. E-Bay is an obvious example, but many nonprofit and/or building supply specialty sites exist, too.
Reuse stores serve the same purpose as exchanges. Some only allow low-income homeowners or nonprofit agencies to shop. Others allow anyone to purchase, and donate profits to organizations that support affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity has a national network of Habitat ReStores run by its local chapters. These materials might include anything from last season's appliance models to a kitchen's worth of barely used cabinets that a homeowner replaced in a remodel.
Salvage stores tend to feature reclaimed, architecturally significant items such as wood planks from old barns or antique sinks. These items often don't fall into the "cheap" category, but they might be cheaper than buying brand new.
Architectural Salvage Warehouse
Build it Green! NYC
Astoria, Queens, New York
Building Materials Resource Center
Florida Victorian Architectural Antiques
The Green Project
New Orleans, Louisiana
Habitat for Humanity ReStores
The Loading Dock
Madison Stuff Exchange
Olde Good Things
Los Angeles, California
The ReBuilding Center
The ReCONNstruction Center
New Britain, Connecticut
ReNew Building Materials & Salvage
The ReUse People
Stardust Building Supplies