Keep building residents informed. Say a shareholder or unit-owner in a co-op or condo is replacing kitchen cabinets and the old ones are still in good condition. Boards can make sure residents know about Build It Green! NYC, a nonprofit retail outlet. It offers salvaged and surplus building materials, and serves as a place to donate and/or buy thousands of different kinds of goods for reuse. Instead of having a contractor demolish them and send them to a landfill, the building resident can contact the group so it can "deconstruct" the cabinets and resell them at a steep discount.
Shop smart. Build It Green! NYC also has thousands of items at its locations in Astoria, Queens, and Gowanus, Brooklyn. There are doors, molding, lumber, trim, paint, cabinets, metal studs, and furniture.
Boards might benefit from the group’s inventory, if they need extra chairs for meetings, new flooring for a storage area, or paint to freshen up the laundry room.
Build It Green! NYC offers materials at between 40 and 80 percent off regular retail prices. All proceeds help support BIG!NYC's environmental initiatives around the city, including BIG!Compost, BIG!Blooms retired scaffolding program for raised garden beds at community gardens, and BIG!Gives Back donation program for nonprofits and community groups.
Donate. Condos or co-ops undertaking renovations could donate old windows, lighting, wood paneling, molding, marble or granite banisters, and radiators.
You'll have to e-mail a photograph of the item to Build It Green! NYC so its deconstruction team can determine whether it can be accepted and whether it is large or valuable enough for them to pick up.
Generally, donations have to be worth about $1,500 in resale value to warrant a pickup. Other charities that accept similar donations ask people to handle delivery arrangements since they don't have the resources to pick up items themselves.
Environmental impact. If you're wondering whether donating a few old cabinets can actually do the planet good, consider this: if they end up in already-clogged up landfills, they will release carbon into the atmosphere, and also create a need for more materials to be manufactured.
Where's it all come from? Build It Green! NYC gets salvaged materials from a variety of buildings about to be demolished or remodeled in New York City. It receives donations of surplus materials from building suppliers, contractors, film studios, interior designers, and other businesses. And then there are donations from co-op and condo buildings.
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