Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rebound Books ReUses Old Books and Recreates New Stationary

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Unwanted and unloved books are given a second chance with Rebound Books.  Rebound Books is an Australian company that has taken the initiative to keep old books out of the landfill and ReUse them to create "unique stationary in an environmentally way".  The company also ReUses old record covers and transforms them into new calendars.  Each piece of stationary that Rebound recreates also includes 100% recycled Australian paper.  They try to use every part of the original book, but whatever they can't use, gets donated to local artists in their community.

Rebound Books has a great online bookshop where they sell their journals, sketchbooks, photo albums, A-Z books, and other stationary items that have all been recreated through ReUse!  Each of their creations is also made by hand and truly unique!

Photo Credit:
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Before you Recycle, Consider ReUse First
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Donating Your Whole House: Is it Too Good to be True?

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Posted by Nicole Tai, N. California Development Director for DRN:

Lately, we've been encountering property owners who are not doing all their homework when it comes to their selection of appraisers and deconstruction contractors. Many think our organization adds an extra layer into the mix, but in fact we are providing you a GUARANTEED donation. Only a few other organizations can say that in California. I love making deconstruction happen, but our industry needs to maintain certain standards to remain effective and true to the goals of reuse. In this blog post, I outline the differences between non-profit and for-profit contractors and appraisers. As you read on, keep in mind the old saying, "If it is too good to be true, it usually is" because it is perfectly applicable to this industry.

The 2004 Non-profit Integrity Act requires for-profits to register as fundraisers for non-profits, and this means that if a company is offering a tax deduction for deconstruction, it needs to have a written agreement with a non-profit. Unfortunately, most of the outfits in the San Francisco Bay Area are not in compliance with this act and are not registered. They are operating independent of the non-profits they are soliciting donations for, many of which aren't even aware of these "deconstruction contractors" and appraisers. These companies may not see it as a fraudulent act, but in reality they are no different from used car dealers who "solicit" car donations from unsuspecting donors.

At Deconstruction & ReUse Network (DRN), we may seem "picky" because we are maximizing reuse potential through local and legitimate markets. We work with both for-profit and non-profit reuse groups to ensure that materials are either reused in projects, or resold to the general public -both of which keep valuable items out of the landfill. We make sure that materials are removed well to insure that they actually will and can be reused.

We aren't going to tell you we can reuse that 1960's furnace when in reality it will be recycled for the copper and metals. It is important to note that recycling does not constitute a donation. Why not? Without getting into boring details, recycled materials only yield a fraction of the value when compared to reusable items. In the deconstruction industry, contractors will generally calculate the value of recyclable metals to help offset their cost to the client and this number is NOT factored into the donation.

If you are planning a home demolition and are approached by a for-profit Deconstruction Contractor or Appraiser for a house donation, we encourage you to do your due diligence by asking the following questions:
  • Does the non-profit your materials will be donated to actually exist?
  •  Is the non-profit’s mission relevant to reusing building materials?
  • Ask to see a copy of the agreement with the non-profit, or their filing with the state attorney general as a fundraiser.
  • Will someone from the non-profit be on site (required) to conduct the inventory, as well as provide you with both a copy of that inventory and documentation of the process?

Failure to acknowledge these important issues may result in you forfeiting the fair market value of your donation to resale value. The worst-case scenario is an IRS audit FOR YOU.

Alternatively, you can choose to go with tried and true, reputable organizations like us - Deconstruction and Reuse Network. If you have more questions on this topic, feel free to comment below or email me, and I would be more than happy to answer them.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ReUse with Re-Wine!

ReUse is so important to us at DRN and when we come across neat products that incorporate ReUse, we definitely like to bring attention to them.  There is a clever new product that just came out called Re-Wine, which is designed to keep waste out of our landfills and ReUses wine bottles in innovative ways.  According to Re-Wine's website, the wine cases are made of "100% Recycled Materials" that consist of rice farming by-products and post-consumer thermoplastics that are combined together to form a new material called Polliber.

Re-Wine's wine bottle cases have many uses, including a non-breakable wine carrier, an energy efficient lamp, and customizable furniture.  The energy efficient lamp is so cool because you can use it on top of a desk or you can turn it into a stand alone chandelier.  The wine carrier option would make a great gift, while the customizable furniture gives limitless possibilities and is like a building block set for adults! 

Photo Credits: MINIWIZ Sustainable Energy Development LTD
Deconstruction And Buildingmaterials Reuse Network Inc