Recycle - Reuse - Repurpose: words we’re all familiar with these days. Repurpose is to find a useful purpose for something you were going to discard. Better still is to Upcycle – the practice of using something disposable as an object with greater use or value. Typical example is the use of containers as homes, offices, or shelters for the homeless. See examples here:
For San Francisco Bay Area residents, here are some local sources to help you reduce waste, divert tons of materials from landfills and pick up some practical or whimsical items.
The ReUse People - www.thereusepeople.org
2100 Ferry Point, No. 150, Alameda; 510.522.0767
This nonprofit does whole house deconstruction and maintains an extensive warehouse of used building supplies.
Building Resources - www.buildingresources.org
701 Amador St, San Francisco; 415.285.7814
Part old-fashion junk yard, part art installation, Building REsources has lots of funky materials at great prices if you search among the rubble. Also sells tumbled recycled glass in all colors.
Scrap - www.scrap-sf.org
801 Toland St, San Francisco; 415.647.1746;
A non-profit, Scrap breathes new life into old objects by reusing materials such as textiles, buttons, paper, craft and office supplies, plastics and wood collected from businesses, institutions and individuals. Teachers, parents, artists and organizations depend on SCRAP as the place to find all manner of materials for projects and classrooms.
Ohmega Salvage - www.ohmegasalvage.com;
2407 & 2400 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley; 510.204.0767
Restoration materials and furniture from older, mostly pre-1950s buildings.
Urban Ore - www.shopinberkeley.com/urbanore
900 Murray St, Berkeley; 510.841.7283;
Everything and lots of it. Also a showcase for sustainable building materials and design features.
Whole House Building Supply - www.driftwoodsalvage.com
1955 Pulgas Rd, East Palo Alto; 650.328.8731;
Sign up for pre-demolition sale e-mails or call the hot line at 650.328.8732.
Wood, doors, windows, also some tubs, cabinets, mantels, sinks and appliances.
Caldwell’s Building Salvage - www.caldwell-bldg-salvage.com
195 Bayshore Blvd, San Francisco; 415.550.6777
Mostly lumber, windows, doors – with a great affordable door shop to build frames for old doors. Also windows, hardwood, the occasional claw-foot tub – plus a showroom with new flooring, bathrooms, etc.