Waste Not, Want Not

     "If we don’t waste what we have, we’ll still have it in the future and will not lack(want) it." 

     Some things I just don’t get.  The saying, "Waste not, Want Not" makes sense to me, it seems simple to understand and I looked up the definition just to make sure I understood.  I would think other people could just as easily understand this,  but some people just don’t get it.

     You see it everywhere; whole buildings, department stores, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. are torn down and hauled away to landfills.  Many of the materials could have been salvaged and re-used but instead it is tossed away.

     When we do projects at Voyageur we re-use whatever we can.  Our tool shed was an old boat garage on a piece of property a mile from Voyageur.  We carefully dismantled the building and with a few new materials made it into something we could use.  Our staff quarters pre-Ham Lake Fire were made from cutting a cabin down the road into 3rds and then finishing them off.   Our old house that sits in the corner of the driveway has been almost stripped bare inside with old insulation showing through the walls. 

     Waste Not, Want Not.  Sounds simple to me.  Wouldn’t it be nice if other people would catch on sooner rather than later?

Got more postremodel debris than post-Civil War America?

The Bite
That’s a confederacy-size exaggeration, but materials such as drywall and roof shingles can take up a lotta space in landfills, so try to recycle the stuff when you can. Andy Johnson would approve.

The Benefits

  • Standing unified with the planet. Building debris accounts for more than 100 million tons of waste each year; we can repurpose a lot of it. Example: Used drywall can be remade into new drywall.
  • Easier than whistlin’ Dixie. Many contractors will do the dirty work for you (i.e., find a recycler and haul the materials away).
  • If 10,000 Biters recycle their old roof shingles next time they replace ’em, we’ll save the weight of 720,000 Civil War reenactors from clogging landfills.

Personally Speaking
When she was getting quotes for her remodel, Heather just made sure to ask her potential contractors if they’d take care of recycling the materials, so they’re handling it for her.


Wanna Try?

  • Before you send it to the landfill, try finding a place in your area that’ll recycle asphalt, concrete, frame metal, drywall, shingles, and wood. Some nonprofs (such as Habitat for Humanity) accept certain materials for reuse.
  • Construction Materials Recycling Association – directory for recyclers and reusers of heavy-duty materials like concrete and drywall.
  • Earth 911 – enter roof shingles or whatever you’ve got and your zip, and it’ll bring up a list of recyclers in your area.