If you're very eco-conscious, you probably already recycle many of the materials you use at home every day. However, beyond sorting your cans and bottles and bundling up newspaper for the recycling bin, you can do much more to be environmentally friendly around the house. You can also use recycled materials like glass and aluminum for home projects and keep those materials out of landfills while supporting your local recycling centers. These projects can range from renovation to installing new products and surfaces. Note some suggestions for how to do this in your home.
1. Recycled glass
Recycled glass can be used as a kitchen backsplash or countertop. You can typically create a countertop or backsplash on your own by using larger pieces of colored glass and attaching them with caulk in the back, just like laying tile. You can then add caulk in between the glass pieces just as you would when putting down tile.
A piece of recycled glass can also be used as a hinged shower screen. You might need to have a home improvement store add the hinges to the glass itself as they will have the right tools for drilling into glass without breaking it, and then you simply add the other side of the hinge to your bathroom wall.
2. Recycled aluminum and metal
Aluminum and tin also work well as kitchen backsplashes, or you can have sheet metal cut and fit over your kitchen countertops. These can all be made from recycled pieces from other projects. A metal fence can offer your home privacy and security, and the panels of a metal fence can be made from recycled pieces. If you're thinking of having a metal roof installed, ask about using recycled or salvaged pieces; even gutters and downspouts may be made from recycled or salvaged pieces of aluminum, as the material is meant to last for years if not decades.
3. Recycled wood
When having a wood floor installed by a contractor, ask about using recycled slats or reclaimed pieces. If installing the floor on your own, pieces of timber or beams from a home that's been torn down can be cut into slats for wood floors. Salvage yards often have recycled timber from such teardowns; choose pieces of the same thickness, from the same type of wood, and with the same general appearance when it comes to knots and grooves, so your home's wood floor looks consistent.
If adding an interior wall to your home, wood studs you find at those same salvage yards can be used for the wall's frame. Be sure you examine those studs carefully for water damage or warping, so the wall doesn't sag or crack.