Recycled Building Materials: Tips and Quirky Designs for All Income Levels

Awhile back, I made the case for remembering to keep homelessness as a part of the national conversation about the environment. For many urban folks living on the streets, reduce, reuse, recycle is their mantra of survival. Homeless folks are only one facet of the national housing crisis, however.  For many of the "working poor" (which describes millions of Americans), a home of their own seems far out of reach.

Imagine how cool it would be to find low-cost housing solutions for these families, while recycling building materials that would otherwise be trash. Well, the good people at the Phoenix Commotion did just that, and the result is one of those win-win solutions that is--far from public housing dingy--beautiful to behold. See the video below for breathtaking mosaics and recycled-glass windows designed by Dan Phillips, "the Dr. Seuss of home building."

The Phoenix Commotion has some tips for those of you seeking recycled building materials for your projects. Some suggested resources:

  • Building sites - Simply talk to the contractor.

  • Salvage yards serving demolition contractors. Especially near larger cities, demolition salvage yards have a smorgasbord of building appointments. Search the Internet with "salvage" as the keyword.

  • Auto-salvage yards - Don't overlook possibilities in auto-salvage yards. License plates make great shingles, for instance.

  • Landscapers, tree-removal firms, and lot-clearing contractors. Most of the medium-sized firms don't have enough refuse to market for mulch, and are thrilled to have someone take materials off of their hands. Often enough one can acquire cabinet-grade hardwoods.

See the full list of tips here.

Hat tips to: The Lighter Footstep: The Greenest Dollar for this great example of bringing green solutions within the reach of all.

Tags: Building materials, Design, Homeless, Housing, Low income, Poor, Social justice

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