Monday, October 8, 2012

5 Reasons to Attend the 2nd Annual Reuse Conference & Expo - October 18-20, 2012 in Portland, Oregon

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The Reuse Conference and Expo is a bi-annual event held by the Reuse Alliance*, a national nonprofit working to increase awareness of reuse by educating the public about the social, environmental and economic benefits of reuse.

Here are five reasons why I believe you should attend, follow (#ReuseConex), share and promote this worthwhile event.
  1. This conference is the only one of its kind in the United States.  The 3-day event highlights the triple bottom line of ReUse
  2.  Networking: learn from and share best practices with leaders in the ReUse industry
  3. Over 40 expert panel discussions plus an Expo open to the Public on Saturday, Oct. 20th
  4. It’s affordable.  Conex attracts more active ReUse advocates working hard to make a difference in the industry.
  5. I’ll be there (Lorenz Schilling) - My presentation is “Common Barriers to Diversion Achievement Through ReUse”.  We will explore the opportunities for achieving waste diversion that are often times overlooked; identify common barriers; and discuss why recycling should not be the first, or only, solution. 

We need to work together to secure continued life for reusable items in order to reduce waste. This forum is a great place to begin the conversations that will create change and it’s important to continue to share and collaborate with each other.

* Full disclosure: Lorenz Schilling is a member of the board of directors for Reuse Alliance.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Got Bricks? What About 2 Million?

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One of the most exciting parts of our jobs is hearing about ReUse all over the country.  Recently, we were contacted by Bud Sullivan from Kansas who has taken the initiative to keep two million, yes, two million paver bricks out of the landfills for ReUse!  Two million paver bricks make up about 16 million pounds and 8,000 tons!  The fact that Bud has taken on the task of moving these pavers back into ReUse is fantastic and commendable! 

Our friends over at PlanetReuse have the paver bricks listed on their website and they are also working to keep the bricks from the landfill.  Along with the paver bricks, PlanetReuse has several items that are available through their ‘Reclaimed Material’ listings.  If you get a chance to check them out and are still looking for other reclaimed materials, definitely check out our other friends at Diggerslist!  Diggerslist is another great place where you can find all sorts of items that will stay out of our landfills and be ReUsed!

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Treasures from Several Eras Will Get New Life from 1930s Beverly Hills Home Deconstruction

Frustrations of a Deconstruction Die-Hard

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I just came across this article about a 4.2 million dollar home in Marin County being demolished and while I have no problem with them removing the home, it's extremely frustrating to me the manner in which it's been done.  With a little planning and a little more time, someone could have benefitted from those materials.

We have been working with homeowners in California since 2007 to carefully dismantle their existing structures and salvage materials that have been given a second life, in their current condition, through various non-profits.  Typically, we are able to repurpose more than 75% of the materials.

If you are considering a remodel or rebuild, please think about contacting us to find out how much can be salvaged and the options available to you.  It may not cost as much time or money as you might think, in fact it may turn out to be a valuable investment of both.

A school room in Baja constructed of salvaged lumber.
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Monday, June 11, 2012

ReSpace Design Competition!

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There are still a few more days to register for The ReSpace Design Competition! Our friends from the Habitat for Humanity of Wake County ReStore, along with the American Institute of Architects Triangle Section and the Raleigh Chapter of Architecture for Humanity, conceived of the competition as a creative way to raise awareness of reuse materials while showcasing creative and successful small space designs inspired by their use.

To enter, participants must register online by 6/15 and then submit a design for a small, unique and transportable structure with reuse materials at the core, from concept to construction by 8/15. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 and have the opportunity to see their design come to life! The winning design will be constructed in a 48 hour build overseen by Habitat for Humanity Wake County using materials from their Raleigh ReStore. A grand total of $3,000 in awards will be presented to multiple winners and the final ReSpace structure will be sold and all proceeds will help Habitat for Humanity of Wake County to build more affordable homes for hardworking, low-income families and individuals.

Register online, before June 15, to support design, reuse and affordable housing in a fun and creative way!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Montecito Deconstruction Project with LUA

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Deconstruction offers many benefits. Potentially it can preserve architectural details and building materials of value, create jobs and support the work of non-profits, provide tax benefits to the homeowner and divert usable material from landfills. Recently, Bill McCullough, our Santa Barbara/Ventura area representative, and I worked with Leonard Unander Associates (LUA), Inc. on a deconstruction project in Montecito. With this particular project, we saw all of these benefits come to fruition. Beautiful materials were preserved and donated to charitable organizations, the homeowner will net a cost savings and 65 tons of material, including rough lumber, roofing tiles and finished materials, did not end up in a landfill. An added benefit is that we have found a great advocate for reuse and deconstruction in LUA. We are thrilled for their support and blog post!

Read LUA's Deconstruction blog post

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Proud to be on OC Metro's Green Team

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The Chuck Jones Creative Center was the venue for the OC Metro Green Team 2012 reception last night. We were so honored to be selected one of the 25 green businesses featured in their April issue. 

We most enjoyed meeting the other honorees and learning what these various businesses are doing to be green. Did you know that UC Irvine is one of the top 5 green schools in the country as recognized by the Sierra Club or there’s a local foundation that’s buying up acres of the rain forest to preserve it for future generations? We didn’t either. 

Sometimes we get lost in our day-to-day workings and forget to step back and look at what others are doing in our area. 

Thank you OC Metro for shining a light on all of us. And, the Myer Spruce tree in lieu of a certificate or trophy was a very nice touch!

Check out OC Metro Minute for highlights (and me):

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hillstone Restaurant Group knows a reduction in demoliton waste during site prep is as important as reducing food waste in its kitchens throughout California

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We recently completed a total deconstruction of a commercial propert in Yountville, CA for Hillstone Restaurant Group.  

Minardos Group Project Manager Larry Adkins worked with Hillstone Restaurant to plan the deconstruction of its Yountville R+D Kitchen.  Hillstone brought the idea of deconstruction over demolition to the table and Minardos Group was instrumental in making the costs and schedule impact work for the overal project goal.

They saved the fixtures and rough framing lumber in the 8,000 sq ft buildings working with San Mateo-based Scott's Demolition and the Habitat for Humanity of SonomaCounty ReStore received a tractor-trailer load of materials.

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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Talking ReUse with John Grossman of EcoBuilding Bargains

John Grossman is the Sales Manager at EcoBuilding Bargains, an enterprise of CET, in Springfield, Massachusetts.   I recently had the opportunity to speak with John about his organization’s deconstruction and reuse business.  It’s great to meet likeminded people who share our passion and thanks to the social web, the world is smaller than ever.  Thank you to Chris Brogan for connecting us.

DRN:              John, you have compared yourself to a fisherman.  Can you explain?

John:             Absolutely, especially when it comes to donor acquisitions. The store is the fish shop and it’s my job to perform donor acquisitions. Deconstruction is an important part of our business model. We feel like we can widen the pipe a lot. I started as manager of the store and deconstruction. As we’ve grown, my job has been chopped into many little pieces. Now all I do is go fishing for donations to keep the shelves stocked at the store.

DRN:              Do you have other programs besides deconstruction?

John:             It’s really the donation program and we include deconstruction in that. We have a free pick-up service and we dedicate a lot of resources to it so that we can be locally harvesting those materials.

DRN:             Does your store sell new or used materials? How do you acquire them?

John:            We carry both.  Each donor relationship is different.  Acquiring materials from a retailer or wholesaler of windows, for example, may have surplus for us only once a year.  A manufacturer or distributor may sit on their materials longer and let them pile up before donating. A contractor may have occasional surplus too, due to an incorrect order that cant’ be returned, but they represent a steady stream of reclaimed materials.  I talk to contractors all the time who are thrilled to find out about us.  Many of them store items simply because they don’t want to throw them away, yet have no idea what to do with them.  I explain how we can help reduce waste and the potential tax benefit.  It really depends on what they are motivated by – environmental or bottom line benefit.

DRN:             How big is your store?

John:             We just moved into a new building in November 2011 and we now have about 32,000 sq ft. About 20,000 sq ft. of it is the retail floor. That is up from our previous building, which was 8,000 sq ft. in total. It’s a huge expansion for us. The difference between the jumbly treasure chest and a well-organized, wide-aisle, brightly lit store is going to widen the pipeline on shoppers and donations.  Shopping shouldn’t have to be an experience for the intrepid.

DRN:            How many people work at the store?

John:            Ten people right now.  It changes seasonally. We have a receiving staff now, which we didn’t used to have. Now as soon as product comes in, it is processed and priced, and hits the floor in a way that is much more shopping friendly.

DRN:             What is your favorite part of your job?

John:            When I was running the whole store and spending more time on floor, I loved the experience of helping someone find just the right thing. Sometimes it was satisfying a whim for architectural salvage and sometimes it was a critical need.  A door of an apartment may have been damaged and they needed to replace it immediately.  That would be a hardship for some to have to pay full retail. They are grateful for these materials being saved for them to purchase at a huge savings. I loved being able to assist in that type of matchmaking.  Now, when I’m out in field for a site visit to a house that’s a prospect for a whole deconstruction, I love closing that deal. You’ve taken probably the single largest waste event that an individual would ever cause and turned it into a positive for the community and the environment. That’s pretty exciting! 

DRN:              How did you discover CET?

John:            My wife and I moved here from Eastern Massachusetts and bought a house.  I was taking a 1st time homebuyer class and CET was distributing fliers to the organization that offers the classes. I went from working on the house and worrying how I was going to afford to fix it up and do all the things we needed to do, to knowing I could get the materials for pennies on the dollar.  I started shopping there – a lot.  When we moved here neither of us had a job yet so when my wife noticed the store that I loved was looking for a manager she suggested I look into it.

DRN:            Let’s talk about the Deconstruction aspect of your business.

John:             We are strictly residential because we know that our shoppers are looking for those DIY materials.  Commercial items just don’t sell for us.   When we first started there were not that many contractors doing deconstruction. We had to adjust the way people were thinking and working. That is the game changer as far as how much materials can be recovered.

DRN:            How far reaching is your service area?

John:            We go to Boston pretty regularly and end to end in the state.

DRN:            What was your favorite Decon project?

John:   It has to be the one we did for “This Old House.”  The house wasn’t fancy; it was a 1970’s house so the lumber was modern. It had not been put together very well so it was easy to take apart. Going through it in an interview/education mode was very meaningful. I felt like it was an important moment for this industry to be able to tell that story on a national scale.

DRN:            Decon can be a challenge.  What struggles do you face trying to increase it in your area?

John:            When people just don’t understand it. They think that it’s going to be expensive or time consuming and they don’t want to take a second to think about how they’re doing things. The fiction that it will take more time or cost more money, and contractors who perhaps don’t realize that their clients would like to pay for this.  When you meet that new contractor and first you clean out his warehouse and then you become the alternative to the warehouse for him. The more we worked with them, the more we saw contractors adding deconstruction services to their business. Most people who can build a house, can take one apart.

We have a great donor whom we kept hearing about.  He was buying and remodeling high-end properties on a regular basis and doing really well.  We would contact him but he had no time to talk about it. We kept trying. One time we went to his office and made a presentation. He said, “Oh that’s what you do!”  So we proceeded to deconstruct a few houses for him and some soft strip projects, but then it got quiet.    I reached out to him and found out he began doing deconstruction on his own.  Now he incorporates deconstruction into how he does business and he calls me every 4 months to come down to his warehouse. I love that!  He’s great at saving stuff, he knows what we are interested in and he’s a great person.

DRN:              Single pane windows are challenging to reuse. Do you handle them?

John:              Only if they are decorative or special, otherwise we don’t handle them. We have tested the market very well and they just are not in demand. 

DRN:              Tell me about your family’s lumber stores, Grossman’s Lumber? I understood they were dealing in reuse decades ago.

John:              My great grandfather and grandfather were very into reuse, which was strictly motivated by profit. They did some interesting work in Maine, including buying an entire town that had been decimated when an industry left.  They redeveloped the town and helped bring industry back. Eventually they began selling kit homes during the housing boom. Grossman’s grew to be a chain of 100+ stores and was ultimately bought by another company.

DRN:            We use social media to promote our services and I actually found you because of social media.  Do you blog or use social media for the business?

John:            We have a Facebook page and we share our posts on Twitter.  We started a blog during the renovation that was pretty active, but we don’t have anyone who regularly blogs for us. We use eblasts to stay in touch with our customers.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Creative ReUse: Decorative Wire Plant Supports and More....

Photo Credit: Timber Press

Spring is almost here and for many people, it is the time of year to clean up around the house.  If you are like me, you keep all sorts of stuff so that it may eventually find a new purpose.  One thing that has been sitting out in my shed is leftover fence wire that I just couldn't part with (I know... like I said, I keep all sorts of stuff!)  Come to find out, there are some awesome creative ReUse ideas that can transform the old wire fencing into new plant supports and even an outdoor chandelier!  The ideas stem from Lorene Edwards Forkner's new book 'Handmade Garden Projects'.  LA Times writer, Debra Prinzing, recently wrote about her experience with one of Forkner's projects and it has completely inspired me to give the idea a try!  I was honestly trying to think of various ways I could ReUse the fencing and viola... I found the perfect project!  If you love the idea of ReUsing and repurposing items that you may have around the house or that might otherwise end up in our landfills, you should definitely check out Forkner's book and the LA Times blog!

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Creative ReUse Idea: Water Bottle Tops to Seal Bags

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meet DRN's Furry Friends

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One thing we love at Deconstruction & ReUse Network is our furry family!  Here are some of DRN's furry friends that bring lots of love and smiles to our faces.

Buji Schilling, The Decon Dog:  Buji's favorite thing to do is help out Lorenz with work and sometimes Buji even gets to drive!


Forrest Wise: Forrest is 15, but that doesn't stop him from believing he is 10 years younger.  Forrest loves to run around the house and play with his best friend, Emily.


Emily Wise-Schilling:  Emily loves to be on the go and enjoys long walks and car rides.  When she is home playing with Forrest, Emily likes to run all over the house and you better not get in her way!  Emily hopes to one day go with her Dad to work, like Buji.


Sascha McCullough: Sascha loves to play ball with her Dad and even go wine tasting!  She loves everyone she meets and makes sure to greet them with her adorable charm!


Calli Faller: Calli is a beautiful rescue that is part cocker spaniel part lab.  Calli loves relaxing on the couch with her big bone she got for Christmas and playing on her own private golf course in the backyard!


Penelope Brown: Penelope is a fun little dog that loves hanging out with her Mommy.  Penelope's favorite thing to do is take long walks in nature!


Momo Tai: Momo is a beautiful kitty that loves to sleep in the sun and relax.  Momo also likes to catch mice that come out during deconstruction!


Diego Moore: Diego is a small pomeranian that loves going on adventures with Mommy and brother, Tiki!


Tiki Moore: Tiki is Diego's brother and his favorite thing to do is play with squeaky toys!  Anything that squeaks will get Tiki's attention!


Chloe Czapla: Chloe is a feisty pup that loves to run and chase birds.  Her most favorite toy is her stuffed hedgehog (and she owns 6 of them)!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Call to Action in Detroit: Please Choose Deconstruction Over Demolition!

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Today, an article came out via MLive that has caught our attention at DRN. The article discusses how Detroit’s Mayor, Dave Bing, is planning to demolish 10,000 homes in the city. Yes, TEN THOUSAND homes! That is almost unheard of and demolition is not the way to go. The good news presented in the article is the fact that “a group of local architects, planners, engineers, government representatives, construction companies, and community development groups” will be meeting on Friday to explore the option of deconstruction. The symposium has been named “Detroit Re-Nailed” and will take place at the Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, MI.

The event will bring to light the option of deconstruction and all the reasons the homes should NOT be simply demolished. With that many homes slated to be torn down, there is no question that there are so many materials that could be ReUsed and kept out of our landfills. Beyond that, deconstruction would create jobs that would make a positive impact on the city.

If you are in the Dearborn area and would like to attend the event, click here for more information.

And perhaps Mayor Bing should watch our Legos video again (and again!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The House That ReUsed Money Built

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Photo Credit:
One of the most fun aspects of being in the ReUse industry is seeing how others have taken the initiative to creatively ReUse all sorts of items and make them into something new.  One of the most unique ReUse ideas that we came across recently was from an artist in Ireland who took $1.82 billion in shredded money and built a house!  Yes, from shredded Euros to an actual house!  As of now, the house consists of one bedroom, one bathroom, and a living room.  The artist, Frank Buckley, plans to continue his efforts and expand the house from what it is now to also include a kitchen, patio, and money shower, very soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From Salvaged Car Scraps To A Beautiful House

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Photo Credit:

One of the things we love seeing at DRN is the beauty that can come from salvaged materials that have been ReUsed for something else.  Today we came across this article that shows us how a house in Northern California has been built and designed using car scraps that would otherwise be considered junk.  The architects who thought of this fabulous idea are a husband and wife team, Karl Wanaselja and Cate Leger, of Leger Wanaselja Architecture.  The entire house is made up of over 100 salvaged car roofs, poplar bark, and junked Dodge caravan side windows, among others.  Even the wood furnishings throughout the entire house (inside and out) were made from locally salvaged wood.

You can view the full article from gizmag and the image gallery here.

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Deconstruction And Buildingmaterials Reuse Network Inc