Home Improvement

Many of the homes in my neighborhood are hitting the 10 year mark. As such, a lot of renovations are going on. The last time I put out a Styrofoam request, I received four big boxes worth of material from two bathroom renovation projects! Another neighbor needed to have her sink replaced and kindly asked me how to handle the old materials.

As you can see from the featured picture, most of the plumbing fixture is recyclable at the Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center! I personally spoke to the site manager, so the picture may seem a little counter intuitive. Because plumbing metals are so valuable, the site manger actually instructed me to tell all of you to take plumbing fixtures to the Electronics station to be dismantled and sorted by ARR staff instead of dropping them into the Scrap Metal bin.

While there are bits of metal or plastic on the items labeled “Trash,” the manger said to make your decision based on what most of the item is. Since most of the tubes are plastic/metal combination they go in the trash, though yes we probably could have cut the metal ends off for Scrap Metal. The faucet itself is metal with plastic but it’s pretty intermingled so it went trash.

Tons of items that you may be putting in the trash can go to the
Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center. Broken tension rods, broken shovels, bits and bobs of metal you pick up off the ground (am I the only one this happens to?), baking sheets or pans that are no good anymore, etc. Metal hangers should be returned to the dry cleaners if usable, otherwise they could go to Scrap Metal.

Foam packaging can be taken to the
Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center, as can big boxes.

Home repair, renovation, and housewares that are in usable and sell-able condition (like ceiling fans, light fixtures and door knobs) may be donated to a Habitat for Humanity Restore in your city. Austin’s Restore’s list of acceptable items to donate is here. They’ll even pick up for you if your donation qualifies.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are great places to shop, it’s the most local home improvement store in your area since it’s all donated. They have flooring, cabinetry, fixtures, lighting, furniture, paint, appliances, lumber, doors; they have a lot. Because most of it is donated and/or surplus, the measurements may not be as obvious (missing packaging) so do a bit of research at home first, measure for what you need, and maybe take your tape measure with you.