Sunday, October 21, 2007

Will Peak Oil Boost Re-Using and Recycling?

With oil prices skyrocketing and Peak Oil possibly here now, the cost of harvesting and transporting raw materials for the construction and renovation of homes and buildings is only going to go up. The good news - for landfills and forests alike - is that this development is likely to reduce stress on both.

As the New York Times reported the other day, the practice of recycling homes - dismantling old structures to use the materials for newly planned ones - is on the rise. It both reduces waste and saves considerable amounts of money:

While the standard demolition quotes were around $25,000, (a couple in Chicago) spent $38,000 to have a contractor...unpiece it over six weeks last summer. They expect to come out even or better after selling door hardware, windows, appliances and other components at a salvage auction and reaping a tax deduction by donating the rest to a reuse store.

What I really like (compared to the highly annoying noise of demolition) is that:

“It was cleaner and quieter than demolition,” said Ms. Bronstein, an assistant professor of communication at DePaul University in Chicago. “We didn’t have dust flying everywhere.”

The result of this kind of practice not only saves money for homeowners, but also for buyers of home improvement items, which are typically much cheaper when purchased used:

...many cities now have “reuse” stores, which sell salvaged goods — from wall sockets to vintage redwood floorboards — for 50 to 75 percent off what similar products would cost if purchased new.

With oil prices rising, look for these types of practices and related businesses to take off!

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