New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide




New Resource for Renovation: Recycled Material and a Place to Donate Leftovers

Jennifer V. Hughes in Board Operations on August 29, 2013

New York City, Astoria, Gowanus

Recycled Renovation Materials
Aug. 29, 2013

Some charities didn't want the items and others said they would take it only if Preston could arrange to deliver, which wasn't logistically or economically feasible. The solution she found was Build It Green! NYC, a nonprofit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials that serves as a place to donate and buy thousands of different kinds of goods for reuse.

It's Easy Being Green

Here's how it works. Say your co-op or condo is replacing kitchen cabinets in a common-area dinette and the old ones are in good condition. Instead of having your contractor demolish the cabinets and send them to a landfill, Build It Green will "deconstruct" them from your home and resell them at a steep discount. On the flip side, you say you need kitchen cabinets? Go to the Build It Green! NYC site, check out its selection and get a great deal. 

A spokesperson, Jaclyn Jablkowski, says there are many ways co-ops and condos could use the company's wares for common spaces. The group has thousands of items at its locations in Astoria, Queens, and Gowanus, Brooklyn. There are doors, molding, lumber, trim, lighting, windows, cabinets, raw marble and granite, metal studs and furniture. 

Looking for lobby or hallway furniture? There are dozens of tables, chairs and desks to choose from. If you are partial to red and looking for paint, there are 200 brand-new quarts of Glidden eggshell finish in "Red Delicious" for $2 each. Fixing up a laundry area floor? How about a 32-by-12-foot roll of linoleum in slate gray for $150? If for some reason you need 24-by-24-inch Armstrong acoustical ceiling tiles, Build It Green has 475 priced at a rock-bottom $1.55 each (a savings of almost $4 a tile).

"We price all of our materials at between 40 and 80 percent off regular retail prices," says Jablkowski. "Our inventory changes every day."

Donational Treasure

When it comes to the donation side, condos or co-ops undertaking renovations could donate old windows, lighting, wood paneling, molding, marble or granite banisters and radiators.

"It's hard to know what we will be able to take, so the first step is to e-mail a photograph of the item to our deconstruction team," says Jablkowski. That way, workers can determine whether the items can be accepted and whether it is large or valuable enough for the team to come and get it. Generally, donations have to be worth about $1,500 in resale value to warrant a pickup. 

Those who believe their items are worth more than $5,000 can claim a tax benefit, provided they hire a third-party appraiser. (In the case of Preston's donation of the wallpaper and carpet, she says the co-op didn't pursue a tax credit.)

But there are other benefits for condo and co-op boards. Donating can save on disposal fees or labor time for a contractor, for instance. "Plus, of course," Jablkowski adds, "there are just the bottom-line environmental benefits of knowing that the things can be used again."


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