Waste Not, Want Not: Case Studies of Building Material Reuse
Reclamation and reuse of building materials can be a tough sell and hard to design for, but many project teams have learned to make it work. Here’s how.
By Katharine Logan
An example of a resource on the map is Los Angeles-based ANEW, one of very few salvage organizations focusing on commercial materials. Founded in 2005 by a commercial interior designer, Rose Tourje, the nonprofit works with companies in a process it calls “surplus stewardship” to direct workplace assets away from landfill. By matching companies’ surplus to charities, non-profits, public agencies, and underserved communities, ANEW diverts an average of three million pounds annually of carpet, furnishings, and other assets—although Tourje is quick to point out that with an estimated 1.7 billion pounds of office assets ending up in landfill annually, there’s still a lot to be done. In the last couple of decades, ANEW has served more than 2,000 recipient organizations in 20 countries, with an often profound effect. “As a non-profit you can’t always afford all of the things that you might want to create a comfortable place of business where your staff can be its most effective,” says Fred Kramer in a video created by ANEW’s award-winning media production arm. At the time, Kramer was the executive director of Jewish World Watch. “What we got—and I absolutely couldn’t believe it—was beautiful, brand-new carpeting for the entire office. Everybody was happy and really felt like they were moving into appropriate office space, given the serious-ness of the work,” he says.