Renovating? Reduce, Reuse, ReStore

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One man's economic disaster is another man's swanky new kitchen island. According to a story in the Charlotte Observer, home owners looking to upgrade their countertops or bathroom vanity can find $90,000 worth of high-quality marble and granite at their local ReStore. Owned and operated by the nonprofit home-building organization, Habitat for Humanity, ReStore outlets raise money for future Habitat projects by selling donated goods and used building materials, in this case, overstock inventory from a recently closed business called Charlotte Marble and Granite.

The ability to waltz into a used building supply store and walk away with near brand new countertops is rare. At ReStores, you're much more likely to find second-life furniture, decorating supplies, home appliances and building equipment like pipes and wiring rather than pristine building materials. Since ReStore wares are sold at 50 to 70 percent off the retail price, the good stuff goes fast in a normal economy and even faster during depressed times when everyone is scrounging to save a buck.

Besides the obvious economic advantages, ReStore reps are quick to point out that their products also come with an environmental advantage as well. According to a study published by the WorldWatch Institute in Washington DC, building and construction activities worldwide consume approximately 3 billion tons of raw materials each year. Repurposing new materials reduces materials consumed, production energy expended and landfill usage all in one fell swoop. For thrifty consumers, the environmental impact takes a clear backseat to the cost and social conscious aspects of ReStores.

"The thing that makes me feel good about shopping here is that my money is going to help someone else have nice things too," stated one shopper who frequents the Northern Virginia ReStore in Alexandria. "It's going to a good cause."

ReStores can be found across the nation - where you can shop or donate - find one near you at www.habitat.org.
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