10 Ways to Reduce Waste During a Remodel

Think twice before you throw everything into the dumpster. Repurpose, sell and donate to reduce waste and make your project more eco-friendly.

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Photo By: Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, The Hamptons, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

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Resell Old Appliances and Fixtures

Audit your belongings before you demo and take photos of everything installed. A week or two before the demo is time to sell or donate items that are still in working order. Consider all kitchen appliances, toilets, sinks and shower fixtures, light fixtures and any furnishings that will not be reused in the remodeled space.

It may take some time to sell, but remember that are always people looking to repurpose used items, such as this vintage sink.

Get Inspired: 25 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Stuff

Find New Uses for Packing Materials

Pallets, styrofoam or large pieces of cardboard can be easily broken down and reused. If you don’t have a way to store these items, consider posting a curb alert in your neighborhood. Pallets are popular for upcycling and durable for any number of projects. Styrofoam and protective wrapping can be reused by others who need to ship items. Packing peanuts can be used to fill the bottom of big planters because they weigh a lot less than soil. Cardboard boxes can be reused whole, or flatten and reused in numerous ways.

Learn More: 14 DIY Pallet Projects

Sell or Donate Doors

Solid wood doors and glass-paned doors are often sought after by home enthusiasts looking to avoid the look of new construction. They’re built well, easily refinished and deserving of a second installation.

Repurpose Countertops and Cabinetry

Create extra storage space in your garage, basement or workshop by salvaging cabinets from a kitchen remodel. Reconfigure cabinet pieces to create a custom hutch. Upcycle an old vanity into a freestanding sideboard. And don’t forget about the countertop, pieces of countertop can be reused creatively to make a laundry folding station or a planting and potting area outdoors.

See How: Upcycled Cabinet Mini Bar

Repurpose Carpeting

If your large wall-to-wall carpet is still in good condition, cut it into manageable chunks sized like common area rugs. Put those remnants to new use underfoot in unfinished areas of your home. When we did this in our house, we saved a 10' x 12' piece for our children’s messy art room (doesn’t matter if it gets paint on it), a 5' x 7' piece to make our basement laundry space a little more comfortable, and a dozen 2' x 3' pieces that we could use for the next decade at the garage entrance to our kitchen.

Salvage Flooring

Donate, sell or repurpose hardwood flooring rather than putting it in the dumpster. They can often be removed intact and still have plenty of life and value. Homeowners will commonly seek old boards to patch damaged areas in their home or will even seek large bundles to cover a bigger area. Proactively remove all nails to make transport safe (use a metal detector), and give these salvaged pieces an opportunity for a second installation.

Check This Out: How to Cover a Ceiling With Reclaimed Wood Floors

Reuse Switches and Outlets

Electrical accessories aren’t always old when they’re being removed for a remodel. Assess what’s still in good condition and donate it or reuse components in other areas of your home. Maybe you’ve always wanted a dimmer in the dining room, here’s your chance to snag one that was installed in the kitchen.

Save Window Hardware and Screens

If you’re removing or replacing windows during a home improvement project, consider saving the hardware and screens. You'll appreciate having them for backup pieces if there are similar windows still in your home, and if the elements have been well-maintained, you can also donate or sell them.

Embrace Reusable Dinnerware

It can be easy to fall into the disposable dinnerware habit during a kitchen remodel. Keep waste at bay and eliminate the chance of breaking your valued plates and bowls (because we know you’ll be washing them in the tiny bathroom sink) by opting for reusable plasticware instead. They won’t break or damage as easily and they’ll serve you well for however long your dishwasher is out of service.

Recycle Light Bulbs

Don’t throw them out! Light bulbs can be recycled and most big box stores offer a special recycling bin to help keep these items out of the trash and safely discarded.

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