Out with the old and in with the new, that’s what remodeling and getting our new kitchen is all about, right? Well… there WILL be a lot of new in the space when we’re all done with it. But when it comes right down to it, I took the messages of Recycle Rex to heart as a kid. And one of the best parts about DIY-ing this huge project is that we get to…
Recycle – Reduce – Reuse… and Close The Loop!
Which along with our solar panels (installation due to start at the end of the month!!!) just hits all of my hippy happiness buttons.
Here are some of the cool ways we’re making Recycle Rex proud these days.
2x4s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
According to our permit application, we should have needed to buy 50+ pieces of 2″ x 4″ x 8′ framing lumber to frame out the relocated wall and the truss modifications that are changing the space in our kitchen so dramatically. So with the 2×4 portions mostly complete, how many of these 50+ pieces of wood have we purchased? Five. We reduced our need for new framing lumber by over 90% by reusing the 2x4s that we pulled out by demolishing slowly and purposefully (and pulling a freaking ton of nails out of the old boards). And when we still had a ton of lumber leftover, Mr PoP recycled some into a homemade giant Jenga set. Woot!
Drywall – Reduce, Reuse!
I don’t know anyone that likes mudding drywall, especially when trying to match an existing texturized technique in the rest of the space. So when enclosing the closet in the garage to make the new wall, we reused the drywall we had removed from the interior of the closet to close up the wall! No need to buy drywall and SO MUCH EASIER than trying to match the existing textures starting fresh with smooth drywall.
Insulation – Reuse!
When the ceiling came down in the kitchen, about 8 giant bagfulls of cellulose insulation came down with it. And where did those bags go? Not out to the curb with the garbage or the recycling! I carried them up to the attic one by one and spider crawled across the trusses, distributing the insulation that was over the kitchen and dining room over the ceiling in other areas of the house. I don’t expect it to make a huge difference to add it to the insulation that was already there, but every little bit helps!
Radio – Reuse!
One fancy new fad seems to be integrated home sound systems and we’ll be getting our own integrated sound system into the kitchen by re-using an antique radio that belonged to Mr PoP’s grandfather and was used for decades in his grandparents’ basement. The radio requires a really long antenna and just has a dial knob to set the station, so it’s been unused and sitting in our attic since we moved in. But now we have the perfect place for it (well, we will when it’s done being built) – atop our pantry, with its own switched electrical outlet so we’ll be able to set the station to NPR and then just flick the switch on the wall to turn it on and off! Not quite as fancy as my friend’s Sonos that he can run off his iPhone, but we didn’t use anything new and we are certainly keeping something sentimental from ending up in a landfill.
Butcher Block Countertops – Reduce, Recycle!
For the butcher block countertops, we had assumed that we were going to end up buying IKEA countertops and finishing them ourselves. But the more time we spent thinking about it, we weren’t nuts about how we were going to end up with seams in at least one awkward place and we started to realize that we could build a butcher block countertop even better than IKEAs and avoid returning to IKEA in our natural lifetime. Both winning ideas. But we’d need a lot of wood. And Mr PoP remembered a large pile of rough cut planks that had been sitting in his parents’ barn up north for the better part of the last thirty years. A mixture of walnut and cherry, the wood came from trees that had to come down while Mama and Papa PoP were building their house. Papa PoP had used some of it for projects over the years, but now it’s sitting on a trailer bed in our driveway, waiting to be planed smooth (and well waiting on a whole lot more since the countertops are much further down on the remodel list than where we are right now) before becoming our butcher block countertops and dining room table later this year.
Give Away Instead of Throw Away – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
And wherever possible, when we’re pretty sure that we’re not going to be needing a material any longer, we try and give it away on Craigslist or Freecycle before putting it out to the curb for garbage pickers or the garbage men to take away.
There’s no question that we’re still going to be creating a lot of waste with this project, but trying to minimize the waste saves us a little bit of money, helps us prevent a little more damage to the environment, and in cases like the radio and the butcher block counters is going to help us end up with a one-of-a-kind kitchen that comes with some built-in family history and sentimental value.
What are you doing to make Recycle Rex proud these days?