Keep These Tips in Mind For Smart Recycling During DIY Home Improvements

When homeowners think of DIY home renovation projects, they usually think of the work involved with the process itself, not the aftermath that comes with disposing of old materials. But properly disposing of these materials is critical, lest they end up as a space-hogging eyesore in your garage, shed, or basement. Keeping your storage space clear and the Earth in mind after any DIY home improvement project isn’t difficult; it just takes a bit of planning and prior knowledge. Here are just a few tips for properly disposing of the materials for any home improvement project you’re considering tackling this season.


Once you’ve finished a project involving paint, the last thing you want to do is throw the entire can in the dumpster, especially if there’s still some paint remaining. What you can do is donate any leftover paint to a neighbor, local community theater, or Habitat for Humanity. On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, and $50 per ton to send it to a landfill, so do your best to make sure no unused paint ends up in the trash.

As for empty paint cans, most are made of steel, which is among one of four of the most common metals used within the construction industry. With this in mind, they can be recycled, along with some other types of steel waste, including pipes and plumbing. If you’re unsure, contact your local waste management center.

Unneeded (But Still Usable) Appliances, Cabinets, Doors, Etc.

There’s a huge list of common home renovation materials that can be recycled. But before you resort to recycling, the U.S. Green Building Council highly recommends doing your best to donate, reuse, or otherwise repurpose these materials, which include appliances, bathroom fixtures, doors, flooring, ceiling tiles, bricks, cabinets, lighting fixtures, windows, pipes, landscaping materials, and more. A quick Google search will also reveal a number of programs designated to sustainably recycling a number of these renovation materials. And if all else fails, simply snap a quick photo of whatever it is you no longer need and post it to Craigslist under the ‘free’ section.

In 2016, the U.S. construction market was worth approximately $1,162 billion, but what’s even more shocking is that an estimated 30% of landfill waste comprises home renovation project materials, according to HomeAdvisor. With these statistics in mind, it should come as no surprise that proper construction material disposal can seriously increase sustainability.

“Recycling debris from a home remodeling project is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for your renovation budget. What you recycle can constitute a tax write-off, and some companies will pay you for the materials. From shingles to bricks, approximately 85% of all construction waste can be recycled, which means those numbers can add up. There are many ecological and economic benefits of recycling, instead of trashing, renovation debris,” says HomeAdvisor.

While disposing of old materials properly is always a smart and sustainable initiative, don’t underestimate the impact that you can have by going full circle and purchasing products made with recycled materials for your next home improvement project. For example, today, more than one-third of new paper is made with recycled fiber. The bottom line is that by keeping the Earth in mind through each and every step of the way, any home remodeling project can be performed as efficiently and sustainably as possible.


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