Many wood products and materials, from the lumber used in construction to the tables and shelves in homes, are in great condition when they are sent to landfills. ReStore helps prevent this waste by accepting donations from new construction, demolition projects, and residential homes, and reselling wood products for reuse.
The Wood Waste Problem
Few people understand the scale of America’s wood waste problem. Most are aware of the waste coming from homes and businesses (292 million tons generated in 2018), but few realize that twice as much waste is generated by construction and demolition sites (600 million tons generated in 2018). Recycling rates have grown in recent years, but the amount of this generated waste that goes to landfills remains massive. (Source)
- C&D waste and municipal solid waste (MSW), contribute nearly 290 million tons of waste to landfills in the US
- 30 million tons of wood waste from C&D projects went to landfills in 2018, primarily coming from the demolition of buildings
- 12 million tons of wood waste from MSW was sent to landfills in 2018, nearly half in the form of durable goods like furniture
- In California alone, 4 million tons of wood waste were collected from residential and commercial sources in 2018 (Source)
Beyond the substantial and growing issue of waste, wood shortages are affecting consumers in very direct ways. According to the National Association of Home Builders, lumber prices increased 180% between April 2020 and February 2021, contributing to a $24,000 increase in the cost of a single family home.
By providing an easy and cost-effective reuse option for businesses involved in construction and deconstruction, ReStores around the country support reuse. It’s thanks to these businesses and to our customers that ReStore can keep high-quality lumber, as well as wooden furniture, out of landfills. ReStore is also serving our community by offering the wood products we receive at discounted prices.
Considering the overwhelming size of our waste issue, there must be a greater effort to keep usable materials out of landfills. Over the next two years ReStore’s efforts to keep wood out of landfills will be amplified by infrastructure and education efforts funded by a Reuse Grant from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) through California Climate Investments (CCI). Thanks to this grant, ReStore will be able to increase our capacity to divert usable lumber and wood products, and also raise awareness about wood waste issues and opportunities to divert usable wood from landfills.
CalRecycle’s Reuse Grant Program is a subset of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution.
How You Can Help
ReStore provides the opportunity to be greener while donating material goods that support our mission to build and preserve affordable housing. When your organization donates inventory, you may also be eligible to receive significant tax credits. The potential savings here are likely greater than what a liquidator would pay for those same goods.1 Visit our Donate Inventory page for more information on tax credits. If your organization is involved in construction or deconstruction, just reach out to our Donations Team – ReStore is always looking to forge new partnerships.
As a recreational builder, hobbyist, crafter, DIY enthusiast, or home-renovator, we encourage you to shop ReStore for wood building materials and wooden furniture. We also accept smaller donations, as long as they meet our criteria. Whether shopping or donating, you’re making a positive impact by partnering with ReStore. In addition to supporting reuse, all proceeds from sales at ReStore are used to fund Habitat for Humanity and the construction and preservation of affordable housing in the Bay Area.
1As a registered nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity can provide the necessary paperwork to claim the value of the donation. However, donors are responsible for completing the necessary tax forms to take advantage of their tax write-off.