Reduce, reuse, recycle — ReStore? Woodworkers looking to give back to their community may think about donating their skills to Habitat for Humanity, but they may not realize that the homebuilding organization also runs a set of “ReStores,” where they can buy or donate “anything you could use in construction of a home” — and simultaneously support Habitat.
ReStore program manager B.J. Perkins explained that the stores, which offer used hardware, lighting and plumbing fixtures, lumber, cabinets and more, got their start when members of the Habitat organization “essentially went Dumpster diving” in search of supplies — while meanwhile, people would be calling attempting to donate items they no longer needed. The ReStores, which are run individually but under the umbrella of Habitat for Humanity, coordinated the two sides.
“The crux of what we do is used items,” B.J. said, mostly building materials for residential and household use. Someone doing remodeling, for example, who wants to keep items out of the landfill, would donate their unneeded supplies to a ReStore. Depending on whether they meet specific criteria, some donated items may be used in a Habitat home build, B.J. said, but whether that’s the case or a member of the public in need of materials purchases them from the ReStore, she said, “everything we do goes to our homebuilding program.”
The ReStores run a “deconstruction” program, which coordinates salvaging material — such as old growth lumber — out of an old home to be sold at the ReStore.
These days, there are more than 550 such ReStores in the U.S. and Canada (the first in the U.S. opened in 1992 in Austin, Texas), plus five in New Zealand. You can find out more, including store locations, at http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx.