KATHY: Every year, tons of building surplus,
construction debris and unwanted household and office furniture
end up taking up valuable space in landfills across the country —
but one organization is making a dent in that pile — and extending the useful life of
thousands of items… The DEP’s Greg Adolfson joins us now and
Greg, Habitat for Humanity’s Restore Program actually began as an environmental initiative.
GREG: That’s right Kathy. Habitat for humanity international was building all these houses
— a huge amount of houses — and they realized that they were putting an
enormous amount of construction debris and construction waste into the waste stream
and they wanted to avoid that — and that’s how the ReStore program was born.
AMY McLAUGHLIN: and as it grew, Habitat realized wow this is a particularly good potential
fundraiser as well and it kinda developed into one of the biggest
funding sources for habitat for humanity international.” NARRATION: Amy McLaughlin manages the Habitat
ReStore here in Charleston. The store takes donations from individuals, businesses and
manufacturers… AMY: you name it, we take it. Anybody that’s
doing a home improvement project — let’s say they’re pulling out their old
kitchen and putting a new one in — we’d love to have the old kitchen.
Let’s say that a retailer is changing out their inventory and they have some surplus
stock that they can’t sell, we’d love to have that.
We even have wholesalers and distributors that often times give us pretty bulk quantity
of items that have been discontinued in the retail stores.
We also have contractors that when they’re on site and they produce scrap material that
can be resold, they often donate to the restore as well.”
NARRATION: From sinks to doors, bathtubs to file cabinets,
Habitat takes gently used items and gives them new life — but not always in ways you
might expect… AMY: we also have a lot of items that are
donated to us that people then upcycle and turn into different kinds of creations —
whether those be do it yourself kind of crafts or interesting pieces of furniture –
they kind of transform that item and give it a new life by creating something different
out of it. GREG: And a good example is this art installation
located in Habitat for Humanity’s Charleston headquarters.
It’s constructed almost entirely out of used plastic drain pipe…
AMY: The beautiful part about this is the Restore is an outlet for you to get rid of
your surplus or used items but then even better than that is when we
resell those items by diverting them from the landfill
we’re able to use the money that we raise to fund the construction of habitat for humanity
homes in communities in Kanawha and Putnam County.
GREG: Kathy, the Habitat ReStore here in Charleston even has a program that recycles used latex
paint. You know there’s always a little left over
from just about any painting job. The folks here check it, they strain it, remix
it and then sell it to the general public at a greatly reduced price —
nothing goes to waste. KATHY: Thanks Greg. In addition to the ReStore
here in Charleston, Habitat for Humanity of West Virginia
operates ReStores in Martinsburg, Morgantown, Beckley, Parkersburg and Huntington.
Teaching homeowners how to make their home more energy efficient is just one of the services
provided by Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha and Putnam County.
Habitat’s Homeownership training program offers workshops on a variety of topics on
do-it-yourself projects to help improve and maintain your property.
The workshops are open to the public and feature local building experts offering some tricks
of the trade… GREG PAXTON: We like to teach people to make
those small changes that make a big difference. There’s a lot of things that we need to
leave up to the professionals but that’s OK,
there are huge gains that we can make on our own in just a couple of hours on the weekend.”
For more information, you can contact Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha and Putnam County.
Coming up: Some unseasonably cold weather didn’t keep the DEP’s REAP program from
doing a booming business in unwanted, used tires.
We’ll have that story and more coming up right after the break.