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ReStore’s Earth Saving Purpose—Diverting from Landfills

Jared Laabs

You may already know about Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and how it provides affordable housing to local families. But you might be surprised how shopping and supporting ReStore home improvement outlets help divert over 2.3 million pounds of refuse from being thrown in landfills.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located in Minneapolis and New Brighton, provide the public with new and gently used home improvement products and building materials. From lighting, furniture, doors, windows, appliances, cabinets, and tools, it’s the perfect place to shop for deals on small projects or your upcoming home remodel.

2.3 million pounds of waste has been diverted

How does ReStore divert items from landfills?

When items are donated to ReStore from individuals, building supply stores, contractors, or other businesses, they are then sold at a discounted price to the public. Items too nice to throw away, can now be enjoyed again or upcycled. A simple formula is used to estimate the weight of items diverted from landfills. Every dollar in sales equates to 1.3 pounds. That’s 2.3 million pounds (over 1,166 tons) in one year (since last Earth Day)! Based on data collected year over year, we'll have a 6% increase and a grand total of 14.3 million pounds in the last 6 years (7,145 tons).

Generous donations from people like you have helped greatly in this effort too! Over 16,000 people dropped off items and the donation team visited 2,725 locations. Together we're keeping items out of the waste stream.

Painting a (recycled) picture

ReStore also has partnered with PaintCare on paint recycling since 2015. Robin Henrichsen, ReStore Donation Manager, says “The general public can bring up to five, gallon containers of paint to us to be recycled for free. We have recycled thousands of gallons of paint at our locations.” And to top it off, that recycled paint comes back to ReStore as Amazon Paint. At only $16 a gallon, it’s a steal and proves recycling can be a cost effective solution while protecting our environment.

Recycle your paint at ReStore

It gets better

ReStore volunteers also collect and sort metals that can be recycled from non-salable items. Copper tubing, faucets, and other items are broken down and separated into buckets. This process regularly delivers over $1,000 a month back to the ReStore. Finding value in scraps is just one more way to reuse precious materials.

ReStore scrap department - Chuck hard at work

It gets even better

"As a component of running our retail store and taking in useful building material donations, we inevitably process a high volume of construction and debris waste," Pete O’Keefe, ReStore Director, says. “ReStore takes great care to sort and recycle any end of life materials via a partnership with Atomic Recycling.”

Atomic Recycling separates the material and provides a monthly report on percentages of material type and destination. On average 70% of those dumpster loads make their way back into a recycling program. Roughly 21.15 tons a month from both outlets equal an additional 507,600 pounds (253.8 tons) of material that doesn't make its way to a landfill.

ReStore waste is recycles

Why is recycling good business for ReStore?

ReStore Manager Jill Carmody explains, “We want to be good stewards of the donations that we receive. Finding the next home for our items honors each and every donation. Some items have become obsolete and cannot be resold. Recycling gives us a chance to breath a new life into the product. Every time we are diverting something from being buried in the earth is a win for the future. It is a big reason that donors are turning to us with their donation. I hear all the time, ‘I just can’t throw this away in the trash. There is value here.’ We try to find the value in everything.”

Additional recycling resources available on ReUseMN.org

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Topics: Green Initiatives, 2020