Re-Use vs. Recycling

This week, Danny and I found ourselves at one of the ReStore warehouses run by Habitat for Humanity. If you haven’t ever visited one of these places, let me encourage you to do so. If you’ve got any remodeling plans, you can get some unbelievable bargains here! I saw several wall-hung lavatories in excellent shape for just $15! Of course, there’s more than just sinks. I saw all kinds of plumbing fixtures, lighting, flooring, doors, windows, paint, cabinets…and the list goes on.

This is a prime example of re-using materials, and the difference between re-use and recycling is pretty simple. Both are excellent practices for saving resources and protecting the environment. Re-using, though, doesn’t require additional energy and expense to re-convert old materials to new, e.g. melting down plastics or aluminum. It simply takes an old item and puts it to use in another location or application.

While it’s true an old door can be taken and re-hung somewhere else, I’ve also seen one used as a new headboard for a bed! In fact, one of the really cool aspects of re-using is the chance to exercise your creativity. The Better Homes & Gardens Green Works Living Green Tour had some great examples, including an old door converted to a desk and reclaimed lumber and galvanized plumbing pipes made into a bookshelf.

This contest is over. Go to our contest page for more.

So let’s do something fun. Send a photo of your creative use of old materials to me at I’ll choose one of the projects and post it here in my blog. As an incentive, I’ll send you one of Black & Decker’s new Gecko Grip Levels. Heck, just for kicks, Danny & I will even autograph it for you. So go ahead and show me your best re-use project.


  1. This is incredible!! I had no idea Habitat for Humanity has a re-use store. Where do they get the appliances? Can people donate to them like a Goodwill?
    I recently saw a submission to Greenwala’s Choose to Reuse contest that a lady had found an old bathroom sink in a park dumpster and turned it into a beautiful bird bath!

  2. Very cool! I saw someone do the same thing with an old toilet, too. It was thoroughly disinfected, of course, and the birds didn’t seem to mind at all, and every dog in the neighborhood thought a new water fountain had been put in just for them!


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