City of Bettendorf, Iowa

A premier city.

Waste Reduction Tips

Reduce waste from remodeling jobs.  Reuse good quality building materials.   Save on renovation expenses.

Reduce disposal costs and tipping fees.  Choose The ReStore: the Quad-Cities' source for new and gently used building materials...at discounted prices.

What is The ReStore?  The ReStore is a building materials reuse center operated lcoally by Habitat for Humanity-Quad Cities.  The ReStore accepts donations such as doors, windows, flooring, plumbing and electrical fixtures and cabinets.  The ReStore creates a link between those who have good quality materials they no longer need, and those who could use such materials for the renovation and upkeep of their properties.

All materials sold by The ReStore are donated by individuals, manufacturers, contractors, and businesses in support for Humanity.  Donated items may be new surplus, slow-moving, outdated stock, or gently used.

The ReStore is a win-win for the Quad-Cities commmunity.  Those who donate materials to The ReStore benefit by avoiding disposal costs and may receive a tax deduction on ReStore donations.  Those who buy at The ReStore save 50-75% of retail on good quality building materials.  Everyone benefits from keeping useable materials out of the landfill.

Materials found at the ReStore: Doors, windows, carpeting, flooring, cabinets, lumber, plumbing and electrical fixtures, hardware, latex paint, roofing, tile,countertops, etc.  For a complete list of materials that the ReStore accepts, please see website listed below.

More Info:

The ReStore:   http://www.restoreqc.org/

(For location, hours and other info, please check website) Habitat for Humanity-Quad Cities: http://www.habitatqc.org/

Why Reuse Beats Recycling

Reuse is often confused with recycling, but they are really quite different.  (Even those engaged in reuse frequently refer to it as recycling.)  Reuse in the broadest sense means any activity that lengthens the life of an item.  Recycling, on the other hand, is the reprocessing of an item into a new raw material for use in a new product--for example, grinding the tire and incorporating it into a road-surfacing compound.  Reuse is nothing new.  What is new is the need to reuse.

Simple Solution:

Reuse if accomplished through many different methods:  purchasing durable goods, buying an selling in the used market place, borrowing, renting, subscribing to business waste exchanges and making or receiving charitable transfers.   It is also achieved by attending to maintenance and repair, as well as by designing in relations to reuse.  This may mean developing products that are reusable, long-lived, capable of being remanufactured or creativity refashioning used items.

Why is reuse so important?   Because at the same time that it confronts the challenges of waste reduction, reuse also sustains a comfortable quality of life an supports a productive economy.  With few exceptions reuse accomplishes these goals more effectively than recycling, and it does so in the following ways:

Reuse keeps goods and materials out of the waste stream

Reuse advances source reduction

Reuse preserves the "embodied energy" that was originally used to manufacture an item.  Reuse reduces the strain on valuable resources, such as fuel, forests and water supplies, and helps safeguard wildlife habitats

Reuse creates less air and water pollution than making a new item or recycling

Reuse results in less hazardous wastes

Reuse saves money in purchases and disposal costs

Reuse generates new business and employment opportunities for both small entrepreneurs and large enterprises

Reuse creates an affordable supply of goods that are often of excellent quality

Unique to reuse is that is also brings resources to individuals and organizations that might otherwise be unable to acquire them.

The best case for reuse is made by the more than 1000 examples of individual, business, government and charitable reuse that are included in the guide Choose to Reuse.


Salvaged Wood Flooring

Trees and other green plants use the sun's energy to change carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbohydrates and produce oxygen as a by-product.  As plants decay, or are burned, they release the CO2 back into the atmosphere.  Therefore, CO2 is literally locked up within every piece of lumber that is manufactured.  The longer we can use, reuse, and recycle a wood product, the longer we can keep the CO2 from being emitted back into the atmosphere.

Simple Solution:

Flooring from salvaged lumber can add a very attractive feature to a new home, or can integrate well into a renovation.

Softwood flooring planks can be found up to 24 inches wide, though at a premium price.  The trees from which these boards came were most likely first-generation growth with large diameter trunks.  Planing widths average 4 inches to 10 inches, and generally a variety of widths and lengths best suit a laid floor.

Commonly available softwoods include pine, spruce, fir, and hemlock.  Homes built over a century ago would likely have had spruce and pine planks laid interchangeably.  A fir floor will have a considerably different grain and color.

Most salvaged hardwood flooring is available at between one-half to equal the price of new hardwood flooring.  Remember that if you replaced the longer, knot-free lengths with identical new material, it would be at least two to three times as expensive -- if you could find it at all.   Generally, salvaged flooring will be much longer and will give the finished product a quality appearance, as most new hardwood flooring pieces are short than four feet.

Helpful Hints:  The sanding of a salvaged hardwood floor should be undertaken only by a person with patience and considerable upper body strength.  Whichever route you choose -- hiring a professional sander or doing it yourself -- ensure that everyone in the vicinity of the sander is wearing a proper respirator.

Safety Alert:   The main difficulty with using power tools on salvaged wood is that nails or other foreign objects may be embedded in a plank or hidden under layers of paint or other finishes.  These can be very dangerous if not removed with the utmost care.  A metal detector can be purchase for as little as $100.


Tree-Free Fibers

Beyond "reduce, reuse, and recycle," another way to conserve forests is to use products that don't come from trees at all.  A new tree-free fiber industry is emerging, offering high-quality paper, clothing, and building materials that don't depend on forests.

These products are made from agricultural waste and annual crops grown specifically for their fiber, such as kenaf, switchgrass, and industrial hemp.  Here's a quick look at this promising industry.

Every year, U.S. farmers produce enough waste from growing rice, wheat, straw, corn, and soybeans to replace all the wood fiber that is currently used in paper and lumber.

The amount of kenaf grown in the U.S. has more than quadrupled in the past three years, to 18,000 acres.

In 1998, the Canadian government lifted the restrictions on growing industrial hemp, but a similar ban is is still in effect in the U.S. Canadian farmers and government officials were pleased with the results of their first harvest in 60 years.


Online Repair Resources

Several websites have made it easier for people to do their own repairs on home appliances and other products.  For example, Repairclinic.com sells replacement parts for 200,000 appliances, including some manufactured decades ago.  The website address is: http://www.repairclinic.com/

You need to know only the brand name.  From there, the site promises to walk you through a few basic steps to help figure out the name of the part you need and the specific one that fits your appliance.

This is one of a number of sites designed to help the mechanically challenged screw up the courage to fix things themselves.  At Wrenchead.com, for instance, shoppers can buy replacement auto parts http://www.wrenchead.com.  Sears sells parts at PartsDirect http://www.partsdirect.com.  LiveManuals has a searchable database with technical information for more than 13,000 consumer electronics and major appliance products http://www.livemanuals.com/