“It’s a little bit of everything,” Gardner says. “It may be some lumber, some metal hardware, some tile or stone, light fixtures or whatever. A lot of times it’s been stuck in a warehouse and after it’s been there awhile and they realizing it’s taking up space, they want to get rid of it.”

Despite the economy, Gardner continues to look for more ways to recycle. For some time now, the warehouse has been offering art panels made from hollow-core doors and also expanded into making items such as planter boxes and trellises from used lumber. It also repairs and resells hand tools.

“I can see us evolving into a real resource recovery project,” says Gardner.

Regardless of their ultimate purpose, both Gardner and Bud’s Magel say it may be easier than stone professionals might think to find someone to take their donations. Certainly, Habitat’s ReStores are a popular and growing option in even medium-sized cities.

However, in many places, other salvage operations are as close as a look in the phone book or via Google under keywords such as salvage, building materials, building reuse or building recycling.

“You can try all those options, or just start asking around,” says Gardner. “The salvage industry tends to be cooperative, and if you can’t find one who will take your items, they’ll tell you someone who can.”

And, it does make a difference, says Magel.

“When people donate, they get a tax write-off, they keep stuff out of the landfill, and they help us fund our programs,” he says. “They’re really providing opportunities for people who want to get their lives back together. That’s what they’re supporting.”


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