Posts Tagged recycled

Salvage statistics to be proud of

salvage stats field crew collage

The RE Store’s field crew in action on a recent salvage project

 

We’ve calculated the total tonnage of building materials and furnishings that we salvaged from being needlessly wasted in 2014. Here’s what our crews lifted in and out of the trucks and the store last year:

  • 3,532,836 pounds of merchandise was sold for reuse (1766 tons)
  • Just over 24 tons of cardboard was recycled
  • Just under 24 tons of metal was recycled
  • Roughly 11 tons of porcelain was recycled
  • Leaving roughly 11 tons of material being thrown out that could not be reused or recycled

We couldn’t do this without your donations, and you thinking of salvage first when purchasing building materials and furnishings. Thanks to all of you for your part in helping us keep usable materials out of the landfill!

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World’s Market Waste IS a “Local” Resource

by Eberhard Eichner,  REvision Division Lead Designer/Builder at The RE Store in Bellingham

This is the season where even the best of us can get bit by the shop-and-buy bug. It is also the season for reflection. These two, seemingly contradictory endeavors can go together, when our thinking/shopping habits include the notion of “repurpose”.

When our trees are cut, and ships are loaded with them for far away countries whose economies with cheap labor manufacture ready to assemble furniture components and other items to send back to us – we have also shipped off the pride in our own ability to craft and build. That can suck us down into depression. Not only for the loss of our jobs and skills and the undervaluing of theirs; or for the exploitation of human and environmentally resources globally; but also for the ultimate waste that happens when we consume to excess. What a burden we have taken on in believing we have a duty to consume new goods in order to spike the graph of limitless growth! Even when we shop sincerely for the things that make us functional, cozy and secure (a basic human need!) – what is happening to all the stuff that doesn’t make quality control anyway, that isn’t of consistent stain color, hole pattern and size, or just ‘outdated?

You may be boarding my thought train now, headed for the landfills in those same denuded hills or, more cynically, another way of “outsourcing”- sending the now jettisoned flotsam by barge to more “disposable” locations. But wait! There is a station called “Repurpose”, where we can stop this train wreck in the making and divert it’s direction to a more viable goal.

Repurpose is the grown-up sibling of Recycling. Though recycling is a respectable way of saving our planet and resources by properly disposing and regurgitating our wastes into “new-and-raw-again” materials for production, it is still quite energy and resource intensive.  Repurposing is the way of direct conversion that increasingly can be seen in our communities. It’s the growing trend of artisans, craftspeople, manufacturers and do-it-yourselfers to turn the waste of our market economy, including the “global”, directly into imaginative re-uses by simply converting the components with no or little alterations into new items of stunning beauty. We honor the efforts, resources and energies spent. We continue the story of making, rather then trash it. We have fun!

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And it is done here, locally – yes, jobs and the “stuff” –  case in point is a load of imported, yet orphaned parts from an Asian furniture manufacturer once designed to be bed headboards, rails and drawer fronts. Now they are REvisioned by virtually no cutting or refinishing into bookcases (photo above), stand-up desks, storage shelves and for “new” components to hall benches and more at The RE Store.  These and more can be viewed on The RE Store’s website galleries.

‘Tis the season, alright, to reflect on what we consider waste, how we can use it as local resource and turn it into good, for good.

Get inspired to do your own re-creations.  Shop local, shop repurposed.

 

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Gary Richardson, Retired Woodshop Teacher – Natural Re-purposer

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Gary Richardson, a twice-retired woodshop teacher, rebuilt an old fire hall using almost all recycled materials. In fact, he says, “You can start with the building itself! It was abandoned, and we repurposed it to begin with.”

Gary’s enthusiasm for his hobby is so engaging that I drove one afternoon from Seattle to a charming little wayside dominated by a classic white church east of Bellingham to see his fire hall in person. The front of the old fire hall, on Mount Baker Highway, houses a Subway sandwich shop, and the back of the hall houses a recycler’s dream woodshop.

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Gary’s thoughtful use of recycled materials is truly astonishing. If he hadn’t told me that some of the materials in his shop were pre-used, I never would have guessed it. Some people have a gift for using recycled or repurposed materials in a way that allows their original form to shine through; others have a gift for seeing something brand new in the old. Gary has done both. There are several woodworking tool displays in Gary’s shop that look custom made—and, of course, they are: custom made by Gary himself, out of repurposed materials. The flooring was taken from GarfieldHigh School in Seattle, and some of the cabinets are from the University of Washington. Those, among myriad other items in the shop, all came to Gary by way of The RE Store, while most of the woodworking equipment was purchased at public auctions and rebuilt for a new life in his shop.

“My intended purpose for the shop is to help young people start new businesses,” says Gary. Recently, he finished some cabinetry and a new coffee bar for the Wake-n-Bakery in Glacier, Washington. “The project was built from materials found at The RE Store in Bellingham. The cost to the owners was only for the hinges and drawer slides, which were purchased new!”

He’s always looking for ways to repurpose. “Shop teachers are naturally re-purposers,” he told me with more than a little pride. “And we teach that to our students.”

He has a long history in the Bellingham area. “As a child growing up poor in the Happy Valley neighborhood of South Bellingham, to re-purpose and re-use other people’s ‘throw-aways’ was a way of life,” he says. “My favorite class was woodshop, taught by Mr. Calhoun at Fairhaven Junior High. He taught me to use woodworking tools and build small projects. I guess I never stopped building!”

Gary and his shop

Gary and his wife, Janet, just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary. With the help of friends, they built their first home in Bellevue in the 1970s, and they still reside in the same home today. A testament to his lifelong pursuit, it too, was built with many re-purposed materials.  Gary agreed to do this article with the hopes of inspiring others to be creative and use other peoples ‘throw-aways’ in new ways.  In other words, he is still a teacher!

If Gary has inspired you to make something of your own – check out our DIY tips on our REvision Division page of our website!

Special thanks to Christine Clifton-Thornton for authoring this article.

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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Whale Skeletons, Recycled Building Supplies and Custom Designs

Whale skeleton with REvision Division Display

“Using recycled materials is in line with our mission,” says Cindy Hansen. “One way to help the whales is by helping the environment, which is something kids can wrap their heads around. It’s something easy they can do.”

Cindy is a zoologist and the Education Curator at The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. For more than 34 years, the museum’s mission is Promoting stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education and research. The museum is home to two gray whale skeletons: one hangs from the ceiling, and the other can be put together like a giant puzzle on the floor. Last year, the museum’s gray whale project was in need of a new display when Cindy happened upon Eberhard Eichner and the REvision Division booth at the Green Village during the San Juan County Fair. Eberhard, The RE Store’s designer/builder, launched the REvision Division two years ago, taking orders for custom building projects using recycled materials for businesses, home owners, and organizations. The Whale Museum received a grant for the gray whale exhibit, and they commissioned Eberhard and the REvision Division to design, build, and help install the interactive/interpretative information station.

Cindy, Jenny (the museum’s Executive Director), and Jill (Communications Manager) met with Eberhard in Bellingham to discuss the project, and, “As the four of us were talking, it all fell together.” Cindy said they had envisioned something with several panels on it, but it was Eberhard’s idea to work with the materials that he used: a door and a table at the center of the design, and louver doors as a decorative touch. “We decided to use those to display trivia cards, which are a huge hit,” she said.

whale museum display in the shop

Eberhard described the process and the result: “In three design, planning, and feedback sessions, we developed a very unique and functional display.  The components are still clearly recognizable parts of former uses and purposes.”

Says Eberhard of the design, “I was after a whale/maritime/Pacific Rim theme, and a compliment to the magnificent skeleton above. I made very few cuts or alterations to the original size, shape, and appearance of the components. It was a process of true collage and fitting matching pieces to each other.”

“The top “whale’s tail” panel came from a bed headboard and is floating on and among stacked “low tide rocks”, a.k.a. furniture legs.

“Eberhard was great to work with. He was so great at listening to our thoughts and suggestions,” said Cindy.

The grant that The Whale Museum got for building the gray whale display also included some funds for bringing students from low-income schools out to San Juan Island to see it and participate in the gray whale skeleton articulation program. Some of the students had never been on a ferry before. The program and display really complement each other and has been a hit with the students and teachers. Cindy said, “We’ve gotten so many great, great comments on it! It’s been a really popular exhibit.”

You can see the whale skeleton and the custom display at The Whale Museum, of course, and also on its website.

 

The REvision Division has built, among other things, a puppet theater for the Lummi Island Library, custom furniture for an elderly retirement house, and a picnic table for a dog park.

You can get a free 15-minute consultation on your reclaimed materials project—anything from full remodels to simple DIY projects:
In Seattle on the third Saturday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
In Bellingham on the first Saturday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. beginning in September, 2013

And you can find The RE Store educational DIY videos on the REvision Division page.

 

Special thanks to Christine Clifton-Thornton for authoring this article.

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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2013 Trash Fashion Show at WWU

5 Trash Fashion Designs on the runwayQuestion: What do you get when you mix a bunch of junk with Western Washington University Industrial Design program students, professional event production staff from the College of Fine & Performing Arts? Answer: The 2013 Trash Fashion Show at W.W.U..

View our photos from the trash fashion show with behind-the-scenes dressing room shots as well on Flickr.

Trash Fashion designs: Black and White Swan

Designs included gowns and bodices made from discarded rubber, plastic, paper and metal materials. Bicycle and computer parts, electrical conduit, and old VCR tape were turned into skirts, pants. Caution tape and vinyl upholstery became haute couture. All of these designs were created in two short weeks as an assignment from Arunas Oslapas. Arunas is the lead faculty member of W.W.U.’s Industrial Design program and  long-time proponent of reclaimed materials .

Trash fashion design - Analog by Jolee Nebert He has been assigning trash fashion design projects to his students since 2010. Those designs have been strutted on the fashion runway as a part of The RE Store’s Trash Fashion Show in 2010 and 2011. Arunas continues to innovate with reused materials. He is taking a sabbatical from teaching this spring to work with a Mexican village on developing products with reclaimed materials, designed by his students. We hope to get more of the story.

We applaud WWU’s efforts to carry the torch of the Trash Fashion Show. The RE Store partnered on the event for many years, with Robin Worley, Ballard’s New York Fashion Academy, WWU and others until our final curtain in 2011. But the show has gone on, coordinated by Arunas and event production master Courtney Hiatt, the Marketing and Special Projects Manager for W.W.U.’s College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Trash Fashions - Aluminum Fox and the Hipster

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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Complete remodel of Rousseau home – restoration, reuse and daylighting

Here is a journey for you – a tale of complete remodeling of the interior and exterior over 11 years, by Katrina Roussea. This home is featured in Sustainable Connections’ 2013 Imagine This! Home and Landscape Tour. Get your tickets today for 9 homes full of green building and landscaping inspiration!

rousseau remodel collage

“When my husband and I purchased the house 13 years ago, there were elements of the Victorian design from 1905 and a major Colonial Revival renovation in 1941. We were lucky to have photos so that we could see how the house looked over the years. Apparently the house was originally located on Chestnut St near the old St Josephs Hospital location and was moved to the current location in the mid 1980’s.  Because the house had been altered so much through the years we felt that we could do a “semi-historical” renovation.  We felt that we had the flexibility to use whatever historic features we wanted to and not be constrained by any particular historical period.’

‘We have so many great resources here in Bellingham and the Pacific NW.  I also did lots of research online. Over the last 13 years I have been to many older home open houses getting ideas and asking questions.  I have also taken and collected lots of photos that were really helpful when we started to design.  We were also careful to pick a contractor who would be open to re-using old house parts and who would get what we were trying to do.  Bellingham Bay Builders has gone above and beyond in that regard.’

‘We have lived in the house for 13 years, and the house did not seem to “flow.”  Our kitchen was chopped up, passageways were blocked.  Upstairs was one tiny bathroom and two large bedrooms (one was 22 feet long) with 2 closets and one tiny bedroom with no closet.’

‘Going into the remodel we had several priorities.  

  1. Reconfigure the floor plan without adding much additional square footage to make the house flow better.  We studied the “Not So Big House” books to achieve that.  
  2. Try and re-use everything that we could from the house.  
  3. Find historical architectural artifacts and re-use those where we could
  4. Make any new materials look original. 

‘We actually started the process 11 years ago.  Once a year I had Jim Gunsolus (of Craftsman Woodworking) take out a window and I then had it stripped at the Strip Shop in Ferndale. The Glass house Co.in Ferndale would restore the leaded glass. Gunsolus then restored the ropes and weights and re-did the trim using old fir that he got from The RE Store.  The effect was stunning and the cost about the same as if we had replaced the windows with new good quality wooden ones.  At about the same time we wanted to put in a gas fireplace, which we did after I found a 100 year old mantle piece that came out of a house in Texas.  The fun for me in these previous projects was that people thought these things were all original to the house.

‘In preparation for the current renovations, I have spent the last year looking for house parts and finding homes for the house parts that we were not going to use. The best items included:

  • 7 vintage doors, at Second Use in Seattle, that came from a house in the Queen Anne neighborhood.  I needed exactly 7 doors and there they were!  I then advertised the doors that I wasn’t going to use on Craigslist and a lady from Blaine who was restoring an old farmhouse was delighted to get them.  
  • A classic 3 panel door that was the exact size that we needed in the kitchen from The RE Store. We also found a nice glass doorknob and lever door set from The RE Store but we are re-using most of our old door hardware.  
  • A pair of antique leaded glass French doors from Second Use in Seattle
  • Vintage hemlock flooring from Earthwise in Seattle – some of the boards were 14 feet long from an old house in Wallingford.  
  • An antique newel post was scored from Skagit Salvage. Gunsolus was able to make a smaller one to match it upstairs.  You can’t tell which is old and which is new.

Surprises in the house included:

  • Historical memorabilia like a child’s homework project that was dated 1908 behind a cupboard. 
  • Stripping the built in cupboards revealed beautiful old growth fir beneath all of the layers of paint. 
  • We figured out how to re-use my favorite door as a pocket door. 
  • Structural beams that had to be added upstairs became a wonderful part of the house. 

The project also included a full replacement of the siding and bringing natural light into the home. Dylan Hicks of Bellingham Bay Builders shared more about the project.

“Designer Deborah Todd worked closely with John and Karina to conceive of the remodel and produced detailed permit drawings. Daylighting was a prime goal of the interior remodel, removing light-blocking interior partitions on the top floor.   New modern windows, multiple new skylights and a creative light plan will ensure a bright interior environment. We removed the three existing layers of siding, replaced windows that were beyond repair and weatherized the shell. We applied new exterior trim and siding to closely match the photo from 1927.”

Karina concluded, “I think my biggest piece of advice to anyone working on their old house is to figure out a way to stay true to your house, even if it means that you have to do things slowly.”

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, You can do it yourself

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PSE’s Re-Energized by Design winners – designing around reuse

Scott and Nia Sayers spent the last six months winning a competition that remodeled their home’s interior, benefitted their family and their professional lives, all while designing around reuse. That contest was Puget Sound Energy’s Re-Energized by Design challenge that pitted six households against each other in a contest that we quote here from the PSE site:

“Re-Energized by Design is a ‘design show’ style competition, where six PSE customers are competing in a series of five room-by-room makeover challenges to combine creative home design with energy efficiency. After each challenge, one contestant is eliminated. PSE provides contestants with a weekly cash allowance, energy-efficient products, and a design coach to help implement stylish energy-efficient home upgrades.”

Designing with reuse - Nia Sayers Window Display - Bubble TubThe Sayers have been designing around reuse for many years. Nia Sayers did window displays at The RE Store in Bellingham in 2008 and 2009. Nia came up with inspiring concepts like a salvaged claw-foot bathtub full of light globes and lightbulbs as bubbles.

Nia Sayers Serving table displayThen there was her outdoor serving table that she built from a table base rescued from the brink of the landfill. Click on the photo thumbnails for full-sized photos. Nia has taught workshops on DIY skills like recovering upholstery and her idea for this project is downloadable here.

Scott Sayers - Chevy Chase - Recycled Arts Show 2013Scott just had pieces in both Bellingham galleries for the 12th Annual Recycled Arts Show. If you missed his perfect rendering of Chevy Chase in negative relief that was cut out of duct tape, the photo doesn’t do it justice. Scott said that for the Re-Energized by Design competition that “The RE Store was our secret weapon.”

When asked about how all of the remodeling of the family’s home wrapped up, Nia said, “We still have some projects to finish up.”

And don’t we all…

Check out the Re-Energized by Design website for all of the stories, more resources for saving money and making a home more efficient. You might pick up some creative and clever ways to improve home interiors and make it more energy-efficient. And learn more about Nia on her site, SummerLandStyle.com.

Posted in: Green business, RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Video posts, You can do it yourself

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Where Do You Wear a Chair?

Allied Arts Gallery - pieces by Luci Lytle and Jim DixonQ: What do art galleries, beach cleanups and salvaged materials have in common?
A: The RE Store’s 12th Annual Recycled Arts Show opening weekend

The Recycled Art Program has been showcasing creative works made from used materials since its early days in the late 1990’s, with partners over the years that have included: Whatcom Museum, Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Blowing Sands Gallery, Haute Trash, New York Fashion Academy, the Museum of Northwest Art, Habitude and many others.

Eberhard wears a chair at te gallery openingThe weekend of April 5th and 6th kicked off the annual exhibition of art made from reclaimed and scrounged media. Downtown Gallery Walk in Bellingham on Friday night debuted the Allied Arts gallery, which was packed for most of the evening. Live music and a spread of hors d’oeuvres were provided by the good folks at Allied Arts. Artists, designers and appreciators mingled amongst the artwork and The RE Store’s own Eberhard Eichner walked around wearing a chair with some hilarious puppet legs, scaling down his normal 6’3″ stature.

Two pieces had interactive elements. Bill Englander’s electrical spark gap Jacobs Ladder with the big red button that sent an arc of electricity up between the two rods. Check out this previous blog post about Bill’s hands-on electrical gadgets. Big Daddy Grungeness by Jim Dixon is a wall-hung crab whose legs and claws do a fun shimmy when you yank on the counterweighted reclaimed rope.

Art Hyatt's piece titled Buchenwald LaceOne potent piece, Buchenwald Lace by Art Hyatt, was a wall-hung set of curtains made from rust-eaten corrugated metal roofing. The piece with its fabric-like folds referenced one of Nazi Germany’s first and largest concentration camps. Art shared that he had debated with himself quite heavily about whether or not to use barbed wire as the curtain ties, but opted for a less intense representation.

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Allied Arts Gallery Opening 01

Self-illuminated pieces by one of Bellingham’s well-known lighting whizzes, Alana Coleman showed up at both of the Bellingham galleries, including these two pieces. Special thanks goes out to all of the participating artists and designers. Other pieces of note include:

  • a pair of custom-built ice-climbing tools made from bike parts, reclaimed carbon fiber  and other random bits by William Bradley
  • a bodice and skirt made from maps and computer parts titled “Analog” by Jolee Nebert
  • two larger than life-sized sculptures of semi-human looking creatures by Eberhard Eichner and Jason Brown
  • light sconces made from drill bodies and old lp records by Graham Schodda who gets special kudos for helping hang The RE Store’s gallery in Bellingham

 

 

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store, You can do it yourself

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Picker professional Devin Champlin – luthier, musician and salvager

Our old friend Devin Champin, had a short and well-done video made about him. He shares how he builds guitars from reclaimed lumber. His work as a luthier and instrument repairman continues to gain notoriety. And if you haven’t ever seen him perform with one of his projects like the Gallus Brothers or any number of other projects around the NW, you are missing something.

Filmed and edited by Laura Going, Samantha Heim, and Lauren Stelling

Devin Champlin from Lauren Stelling on Vimeo.

Music by Devin Champlin

http://www.champlinguitars.com/

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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Outdoor Cinemas, Flying Beds & Funky Junk at NW Flower & Garden Show

Flower and Garden Show Booth CollageDid you ever ride on a flying bed made from old stair stringers and reclaimed fir posts at the NW Flower and Garden Show? If you didn’t get a chance to see it in person, we had a suspended day bed from which to watch the movie screen on the side of the “house” with salvaged beveled siding. Cabinet drawers arranged around the bed were filled with various bedding annuals and perennials. An outdoor kitchen sported one of the much acclaimed “Big Green Egg” hybrid grill/oven/smoker and a nice used cook top. Random reclaimed rummagings were used for planters and a vertical pallet garden filled out the vignette.

The Flower & Garden Show seminars are always a big highlight, bringing experts on a wide variety of experts on gardening, plants, garden design, food and more.  We proposed two seminars this year and were chosen as two of the 85 speakers from almost 250 proposals.

Thanks to everyone who came out to see us at the Flower and Garden Show this year – it is always great to meet new folks and catch up up with old friends! We had a great time designing and building this booth – this year’s theme was an “Outdoor Cinema” in line with the larger show’s theme of “Silver Screen – Take Root”.

Eberhard Eichner, our master of REvision Division furniture building in Bellingham talked about making the most of small urban gardening spaces outdoor furniture and demonstrated how to build a planter box, bench seat and arbor

Jason Darling, our Education and Marketing Coordinator, presented an inspiring slideshow with photos and videos of creative planters, fences and screens, pavers and patios, arbors, sculptural accents, water features and weird old unidentifiable things. Everything was made from reclaimed materials and he even did some good networking, soliciting artists for our 12th Annual Recycled Arts Show.

Thanks so much to our friends at Seattle Urban Farm Company for teaming up with us on our booth at the Flower & Garden Show – and to Sutter Home & Hearth for loaning us the “Big Green Egg” grill/smoker for the outdoor kitchen – and thanks to Sky nursery for loaning us some plants too.

Posted in: Green business, Stories about stuff, Transforming the building industry, You can do it yourself

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