New Ways to be Green

Tips and Advice

I started a new project today, which is very exciting!  I’m on the team that’s assisting a family get their kitchen back together after living with an only semi-functional kitchen for over a year.  It will be great to see them able to enjoy a beautiful kitchen that works well!  I’m pleased to be on the team with their contractor who is a great guy who not only wants his clients to be happy, but he watches over the budget like I do, so I know we’ll work well together. 

As we’ll be dismantling their current kitchen, I thought it would be good to talk about what to do with all the stuff that you don’t want anymore, but that’s in good shape.  I’ve been concerned about the environment since the 70’s, and I’m heartened by the businesses that are taking construction cast-offs and keeping them out of landfills.  Did you know that construction waste accounts for a huge percentage of the stuff that ends up in landfills? 

 That’s why it’s great to learn about places like Re-Store, run by Habitat for Humanity.  They’ll take new and used building materials from individuals, contractors and retailers and sell it in their Re-Store at discounted prices, and the profits go towards Habitat for Humanity.  Isn’t that a great way to be kind to the environment,  help out someone who could benefit from your cast-offs AND help even more people find affordable housing?  It’s like a triple-layer of doing good!  Not only that, but you get a tax deduction as well.  How can you beat that?

The Re-Store will take good quality new and used building materials like cabinets, sinks, faucets, doors, windows, appliances, etc. (all have to be in good working order and clean).  If you check out their website at, you can find out what they will take and you can bring it there or have them come to you to pick up. Our local store is in Gurnee at 3545 Grand Ave. 

In August, the Orgill Fall Dealer Market sent 10 truckloads of brand new stuff to the Gurnee Re-Store after a trade show at McCormick Place.  They received everything from candy to patio furniture and wood-burning stoves!  You can even see their inventory list online if you’re shopping for something. 

It’s also a great place to go to find tile and stone remnants, if you need a small amount.  Check them out the next time you’re doing a project.  Maybe you’ll find something really cool, and maybe you’ll be able to send them something usable that someone else can benefit from. 

Here are some other companies that will take things that you no longer want or need:

SWALCO- takes opened paint, household cleaners, and household electronics.

Love.INC- will take gently used beds, sofas and clothing.

Salvation Army- will take clothing, sporting goods, books and electronics.

Freecycle- A really cool concept.  It offers usable items for free to other local residents interested in keeping stuff out of landfills. 

Lately, I’ve been trying to divest myself of things that I no longer need or want.  I enjoy being able to streamline my life but am always reluctant to part with things that are still in good shape that someone else might be able to use.  Now I know I have several options for recycling and being able to help the planet and others.  How do you recycle stuff you no longer want but is still good?

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