Monday, May 17, 2010

It's All In Our Head ...

Here's a question to ponder ...

If you were having a house built or remodeling your current home, would you feel you were getting your money's worth if the contractor used salvaged building materials to construct your project?

Unfortunately, many people would answer that question with "NO". In our society, we seem to believe that the only quality products are brand new and that something salvaged, used, pre-owned or repurposed isn't the "best". I suspect that we can thank advertisers for that thinking ... after all, they are in the business of keeping companies afloat and that means making consumers believe that they need the newest items on the market.

In truth, "New" isn't always better. For example, salvaged construction materials, like lumber, are often sturdier and less expensive than new items purchased from a lumber yard. Pre-owned vehicles are often a much better value than brand new cars (if the brakes give out on your new car, it isn't good).

And what about the environment? When one considers the impact of new items ... the natural resources required and energy used to fabricate them ... new isn't really better. When we see landfills being swamped with last year's "New" items ... well, that isn't better either.

Imagine what would happen if our collective thinking changed ... if we viewed "New" as bad and "Used" as best. Imagine a world where landfills weren't filled with usable items. It could happen ... after all ... it's all in our heads.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!

11 comments :

  1. Used lumber is actually better because it has had years to dry out. New lumber runs the risk of twisting and bowing if it hasn't been dried thoroughly.

    AV

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  2. Well said, Lots of time the "older" are much better crafted and kept then the new mass porduction ones,

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  3. Last month we got a super great door from the Habitat for Humanity outlet in Seattle. It had been donated or taken from a house being brought down. Only $125 for an exterior door with a small window and made of real wood, very solid, very good looking. We saved $$$ and kept the thing out of a landfill, while helping a charity. You can too!

    IMO You have to pay attention to your materials whether they're new or used. "New" is no promise of quality!

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  4. My husband and I are planning to build in a few years. We are already looking for salvage materials to use since we want a particular look. It might be that the house will have to designed around the doors, windows and other things that we find. It actually makes the whole process more fun.

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  5. i won't hire a contractor who doesn't recycle...portland's city page has a search option where you can find out where to recycle all kinds of materials including building materials...so when you're getting your roof re-done, for example, find out where the nearest recyclers are for those asphalt shingles, etc, and don't let them use a dumpster (if they won't recycle them, make sure they organize the waste so you can!). and it's amazing how much using sites like freecycle and the 'free' section of craigslist to get rid of stuff like this too!

    this is a reason why 'extreme home makeover' pisses me off 90% of the time because they trash the old houses instead of deconstructing, most of the time. all this stuff just goes in the dump, ewww!

    thanks for another good discussion topic ;0)

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  6. Yes you have a great point. Like toys for my kids. I prefer used but when I buy gifts I feel obligated to buy new. I feel it is expected. Old and used need love too!

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  7. Adding to the above, I guess it is the same mentality that stops/prevents people from Op-shopping. To much pride to buy something used.

    AV

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  8. Good morning to you. I have something for you on my blog that I thought you could have some real fun with.

    http://the-new-author.blogspot.com/

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  9. Oh how very true! It's all about that advertising. Our kids always think that every NEW toys is a must-have...but then again, they also want every garage sale toy usually too! Hmmmm. Anyway - I wish more people would place a higher value on used things as well...we always look for things we need on Craigslist or garage sales!

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  10. I dream of building my house with only salvaged materials! Great post ;-)

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  11. Actually salvaged material can sometimes be much better than regular material. The new stuff is thinner, more cheaply made, greener. etc.

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