Salvagers save home demolition leftovers from landfills
Published Monday, April 10, 2017 6:03PM PDT
Countless homes are being torn apart as a byproducts of a red-hot housing market, and some of the leftover materials are being dumped into Lower Mainland landfills.
But salvaging businesses aim to change the amount of items that end up at the dump.
"We will see houses that were renovated immediately prior to being sold, and the new owners come in, buy the property, demolish everything," said Wade Schmirler.
Schmirler, who works at Surrey New and Used Building Materials, says that although six municipalities in the area have recycling requirements for demolitions, there are many challenges facing the industry.
"Lumber from deconstruction is very difficult to reuse, the challenge being that it's no longer certified and can't be used in new construction," he said.
"The price of new material is cheaper now than it was 20 years ago."
Schmirler is pushing for taxes to be dropped on salvaged items to encourage those doing renovations to consider recycled options before buying brand new.
Wood makes up the majority of construction and demolition waste seen at the Vancouver landfill, and a recent audit suggests that the amount has increased.
Salvaged materials are a key source of funding for Habitat for Humanity, according to deconstruction manager Christina Radvak.
Habitat runs several "ReStores" around the Lower Mainland, where consumers can purchase everything from doors and windows to kitchen cabinets, bathtubs and light fixtures. Many of the items are removed from homes during renovations and demolitions.
"It's really unfortunate to hear about how waste is still going to the landfill," Radvak said.
But wood is actually a good seller for the organization.
"We can provide tax receipts for that material and when you get old lumber, old growth wood that you can't get any more then the value goes through the roof," she said.
Metro Vancouver's Solid Waste Services Department says more cities are considering recycling regulations, a shift they hope will keep the byproduct of a busy real estate market from becoming junk.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber