Words Matter!

The ReUse PeopleBy Ted Reiff
TRP’s anniversary is November 29 because that’s the day we actually started doing business. We don’t count all the prior days spent thinking about doing business, writing the business plan, incorporating, and receiving federal approval as a nonprofit organization, all of which took a good seven months. But just so you know, the spark was ignited in April, 1993, so in my heart I’m celebrating this month.

It amazes me that after 21 years of demonstrating the benefits of reuse as distinct from recycling (along with many colleagues in the reuse industry), many people still don’t understand the difference between the two. In fact, when Japanese architect Shigeru Ban was awarded architecture’s top honor, the Pritzker Prize, last month, a feature on the PBS NewsHour labeled the paper tubes, plastic beer crates, shipping containers and other innovative materials he uses “recyclable materials.” No doubt some of them are, but others are examples of reuse.

Why does it matter? Several reasons. Waste disposal companies that recycle have limits on the kinds of materials they accept, and those limits tend to build parameters in the minds of the people they serve. Only certain kinds of paper, plastic, metal and so forth go into the recycling container; everything else goes in the trash. Job done. As a result, lots of things end up in the landfill that could have been reused, because reuse is limited only by creativity.

The reuse industry would benefit tremendously by having “reuse” become as much a part of the environmental lexicon as “recycle.” If people thought about reuse as much as they do recycling, we would preserve not only landfills, but energy—as the following definitions illustrate.

Recycling is reprocessing and adapting something to a new use or function. When TRP deconstructs a house, some materials are sent to recycling centers. Scrap metals are melted down to be used in the manufacture of brand new materials. Small pieces of lumber are chipped up and used as ground cover. Concrete is sent to a crushing facility where it is turned into fodder for engineered fill or road base. Note the common denominator in recycling: something is done to change the material. That change requires the application and expenditure of energy.

The ReUse PeopleReuse is using again in another context. When something is reused, its form doesn’t change. Consequently, new energy is not applied and, more importantly, all the energy that went into making the item (called embodied energy) is not lost, as it is in recycling. Last month I wrote about moving houses, a very direct form of reuse. On a more common scale, deconstruction saves the components of a building–—2x4s, sinks, doors, windows, bricks—for reuse. They are used again in another context and their embodied energy is saved.

The ReUse PeopleAdaptive reuse is the process of reusing an existing building for a purpose other than that for which it was built. It’s a term that has become popular in the building industry in the last 10 to 15 years. An old high school in Seattle is turned into an apartment building; a warehouse in St. Louis is now the call center for a car rental company; a brewery in Baltimore has new life as an office building. And for many years obsolete factories throughout the country have been turned into work-live lofts. About a year ago I wrote about the adaptive reuse of the American Tobacco Company complex in Durham, which is now a mixed-use community.

Repurpose is almost synonymous with reuse. The difference is subtle. A 2x4 stud from a deconstructed building could be reused as a stud in a new building. Or, with a little trimming, sanding and staining, that same stud could be repurposed (along with others) into a beautiful tabletop. The 2x4 can still be seen, but now it is being used for something other than the purpose originally intended.

Repurposing is sometimes referred to as “upcycling.” I don’t like the term because of its close association with recycling. While it is generally true that more energy is applied, most or all of the embodied energy is retained.

So, for the sake of the reuse industry and my own sanity, please refer to TRP’s efforts and those of other reuse organizations as reuse, not recycling.

Special Event Reminders

Retail Warehouse Training

If you, or someone you know, are interested in starting and running a retail warehouse, TRP now offers retail training on an open-registration basis, in Oakland, on the following dates:

April 28 – May 2

June 16 – June 20

For more information, visit our website.

Free TRP Webinars

The ReUse People Specials

The final FREE webinar in our current series will be held at 1:00 p.m. Central Time on Thursday April 24. The topic is How to Deconstruct Structural Materials. It covers the identification and removal of structural materials, plus the benefits of reuse.

For more information or to sign up for the webinars, visit WasteCap Webinar Series.

October 23 – 25, 2014 Reuse Alliance’s Reuse Conex Conference and Expo, Austin, TX. For more information, visit http://www.reuseconex.org/

Specials of the Month

At the Oakland warehouse we are featuring sinks, tubs and toilets. Receive 25% off the price of any sink, tub or toilet through April 30.
The ReUse People Specials
The Los Angeles warehouse is featuring windows. Receive 25% off the price of any window through April 30.
The ReUse People Specials

New Inventory

The Oakland warehouse warehouse has received a shipment of lumber from a 1906 home in Sausalito. You won’t find better than this!

New inventory at the Los Angeles warehouse includes plantation-style sliding glass doors in various sizes, several sizes of solid maple cabinet doors with lion-head pulls, and tan Corian pedestal sinks handsomely fronted with sculpted decorative trim.

The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials

Deconstruction & New Materials Update

Visit the TRP website for a complete list of current deconstruction projects and inventories. Just click on “Retail Sales” and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Location and Contact Information

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Oakland
9235 San Leandro Street
Oakland, CA  94603
(510) 383-1983; toll-free 888-588-9490
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-6:00 Closed Sunday

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Los Angeles
3015 Dolores Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065
818-244-5635
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-5:00; Sat 10:00-4:00

Please visit our partnering warehouses:
Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Orange County (two convenient locations)
12827 Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 590-8729
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00- 8:00; Saturday 9:00-6:00; Sunday 11:00-5:00
2200 S. Ritchey Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 434-6266
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-5:00; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Kansas City
4701 Deramus, Kansas City MO 64120
(816) 231-6889
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-6:00; Sat 9:00-4:00; closed Sunday

Reuse Depot
2711 Washington Blvd, Unit E
Bellwood, IL 60104
(708) 240-4910
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-5:00p; Sat 10:00-4:00

The ReUse Warehouse
800 Taylor Street
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 219-4913
Hours: Mon-Fri, 2:00-6:00; Sat, 9:30-5:00

Second Chance Building Materials Center
1423 West Grove Street
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 331-2707
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:00-6:00; Sun, 12:00-5:00

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Salt Lake Valley,
1276 South 500 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 263-0136
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00am-6:00pm; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Summit & Wasatch Counties
6280 N. Silver Creek Drive, Silver Summit, UT
(435) 487-9015
Hours: Wed-Sat 10:00-6:00; closed Sunday

Recycle Utah
1951 Woodbine Way Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-9698
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00-5:30; Sun 10:00-4:00

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