One aspect of a home remodel many people forget to think about is where the massive amounts of waste will end up. With over-full landfills and global warming, the eco-friendly choice is to recycle everything you can during your remodel. However, most people aren’t aware of what can and can’t be recycled. Here are three materials that can be reprocessed and shouldn’t go into the garbage bin.
Items You Can Recycle During a Home Remodel: Copper
More copper is mined in the United States than any other metal. It is a costly endeavor and requires massive clearings of land. There are limits to the amount of copper that can be mined, but when it is recycled, it saves up to 85% of production energy. Unlike many other metals, copper doesn’t degrade and can have a virtually limitless useful lifespan. Common copper items that you might dismantle during a remodel are gutters, downspouts, roofs, expansion joints, plumbing parts, and myriad wires. Even when you can’t see it, an average home uses nearly 500 pounds of copper in its construction. Be sure to recycle any copper parts that you remove.
More asphalt is recycled in the United States than any other material, and yet most people don’t realize it is recyclable. Asphalt production requires oil, which makes asphalt recycling a major carbon saver. You may need to use a jackhammer to remove asphalt material. Once the top layer is removed from your property, it should be taken to a recycling center and broken down to make new asphalt. The most obvious source of recycled asphalt is the driveway. However, asphalt shingles can also be recycled and used to make aggregate for future projects. Aggregate is a material that is typically mined, so reprocessing asphalt shingles reduces the need for mining. Like asphalt, concrete can be pulverized and used to make new concrete.
Items You Can Recycle During a Home Remodel: Appliances
Often, appliances are still in good working condition when they are updated. The best form of recycling for appliances is to donate your old ones to a charity, sell them, or give them to a family in need. If your appliances are not working, you can still recycle them. Non-working appliances are dismantled and each component can then be recycled separately. Many cities have an appliance recycling service, with the option to schedule a pick-up from your home. When you don’t recycle your appliances, they cause land-fill overcrowding and seep harmful chemicals into the earth.
The planet earth is the only one we are going to get, and we all need to do our part to take care of it. Learn about recycling services in your area and commit to recycling everything you can, especially during your next remodel.
Check out this article on how to make your home remodel more green!
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