Finding Eco Friendly Building Materials Finding Eco Friendly Building Materials

By Murray Anderson

The world around us has changed. No longer is it considered 'cheap' to reuse building materials. When you think about it, it just makes sense. It's estimated that more than half of all the things in landfills is material from scrapped building and construction sites. Now reusing building materials is the responsible thing to do and more people are actively looking for ways to find reclaimed building materials and include them in their projects.

Keeping even a small percentage of old material out of our landfills, will make a significant contribution to the earth, and on a purely personal note, think about the money you can save on your next project. Here's some idea of places where you can find reclaimed building materials for your next project.

Restore (Habitat for Humanity)

    * One of the best known is the Restore run by the Habitat for Humanity organization. The Restore accepts used, leftover and recycled building material for resale. The proceeds from the sale of the contributed materials goes to funding construction of housing for the Homes for Humanity organization. There is a constant turnover of all kinds of materials at these store, everything form paint to plumbing and electrical fixtures to windows, doors and even complete kitchens.  Look in the Yellow pages for "Restore " or "Homes for Humanity."
    * You may not even have to find a Restore to get quality recycled materials. Neighbors or friends who are renovating are usually quite happy to have someone take away their 'old stuff'. Keep your ryes open as you drive in your neighborhood and don't be overly shy about asking someone doing a Reno for some of their throw-aways.
Feeling a little shy about knocking on a stranger's door, you can probably go online and find all kinds of recycled and reclaimed materials in your community. There are a number of organizations that act almost as brokers bringing together folks looking for materials with those trying to move it.

    * ( specializes in recycling in building materials, You can buy, sell or trade building materials on the site.
    * Freecycling ( is a world wide group with almost 6 million members. It's made up of people who are giving (and of course getting) things for free. They don't specialize in building materials but there are lots of building materials available. It doesn't cost anything to join and you can find a chapter near you by entering your community in the search box at their site.
    * Want to try something a little more familiar? How about Craig's list? Just search in the materials or tools for sale sections for your area and you'll likely be surprised at what you'd find.
    * Maybe even something for free - all you need to do its pick it up.
    * eBay also often has listings for construction materials. Here again if you can find something in your area, you may be able to save yourself some money.

Are you a traditionalist? Like to do things the tried and true way? Just pick up your phone book and look in the Yellow Pages. Construction companies are often anxious to get rid of their 'waste' and salvage yards are a reliable source of materials as well. Look in the book under recycled, used, salvaged or even junk.
Building materials that can save you money and help the planet are widely available out there. You can find them, and it's well worth the effort involved.

Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer over 500 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to He can be contacted at [email protected]

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