Building Materials Reuse, Salvage and Deconstruction

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The United States generates more than twice as much construction and demolition waste as household trash.

Before you begin a demolition or renovation, consider removing items for reuse or salvage. Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy offers grants to help support deconstruction projects.

Learn about deconstruction grants

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What is deconstruction?

Deconstruction is the process of taking apart a building so its components can be reused. Deconstruction ranges from salvaging a few select items to systematically taking down an entire building.

Commonly salvaged items

Many building materials can be reused, such as appliances, cabinetry, hardware, light fixtures, lumber, solid wood doors, trim, windows and wood flooring.

Why deconstruction is important

It prevents waste

80% of Minnesota's construction and demolition waste is put in a landfill. Salvaging items keeps materials out of the landfill.

It preserves history

Unique historical pieces no longer produced today can be reused in old and new structures. For example, old growth lumber (salvaged from buildings built between 1890 and 1940) is more durable and filled with character.

It conserves resources

Salvaged materials save resources otherwise used to manufacture, harvest, build or ship brand new materials.

It supports the local economy

Salvaging and buying salvaged materials supports local retailers and creates jobs.

Where to take or buy reusable items

There are many local retailers that accept and/or sell salvaged materials. Many accept and sell specific items. Contact each organization to confirm services, items accepted and sold, and prices.

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