End of Life: How to Dispose of Unneeded Items After a Remodel

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Where to take your unneeded items after a remodel in Colorado.

When doing a remodel on your own, a task often overlooked is how you’ll dispose of the materials that are currently in your home. When you don’t have a plan in place for removing items, it can mean you’re taking reusable materials to landfills out of necessity. 

With a little planning and some helpful organizations, you can save money and recycle your materials. Disposing of unneeded items sustainably after a remodel can actually be really beneficial for your community!

A well planned remodel and disposing of items intentionally can also downsize your taxable income, help you avoid landfill fees, reduce waste, create green jobs, and support sustainable organizations in your community.

Deconstruction vs. Demolition

Swinging a sledgehammer through your drywall out of excitement can turn your remodel into a safety hazard… and a wasteful mess. Instead of demolition, consider deconstruction. Rather than Hulk-smashing your walls, you’ll salvage usable materials, components, and parts. Then, you’ll sell, donate, recycle, or repurpose these pieces of your home.

We don’t mean to imply that this is an easier approach. Deconstruction often takes more time, requires extra planning, and costs more than demolition. Yet, it also comes with benefits beyond the warm, fuzzy feeling that helping Mother Nature brings. 

Donating the drywall you carefully removed instead of obliterating, for example, could help a family with fewer resources fix up their very first home.

Deconstruction also creates entry-level jobs and green job training opportunities for workers. Some U.S. cities are even instituting deconstruction ordinances to boost job creation and advance other sustainability-focused objectives.

When you’re ready to start meticulously taking your home apart, create a detailed, step by step plan. You’ll want to include what will be dismantled, where you’ll sort the materials, and a disposal plan. Make sure everyone on site is on the same page and aware of what goes where before picking up the power tools. 

And, don’t forget to protect the materials that you took time and energy to collect. Cover or secure any valuable items that could be easily damaged in the process.

Red tiles that have been torn away from a floor lay on wooden beams
There are many items that you can donate that you might not know about like tile, bricks and drywall.

Donating or Recycling Post-Deconstruction Materials

Both big and small projects can generate a lot of unwanted materials. This includes a full home remodel, a facelift for your guest bathroom, replacing appliances, or turning your seldom-used mancave back into a usable garage. 

Old appliances, unused paint, bent nails, used furniture and finicky light switches aren’t items that need to be sent to landfills. You may be surprised to discover how much can be donated or recycled post-deconstruction.

Here’s a list of some commonly trashed items that can be given a second life:

  • Base course materials (e.g., crumbled or recycled concrete)
  • Scrap metal (e.g., steel, copper, aluminum)
  • Untreated lumber
  • Shingles
  • Bricks
  • Drywall
  • Paint
  • Appliances
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Cabinets
  • Countertops
  • Sinks
  • Light switches
  • Light fixtures
  • Miscellaneous hardware

Some items, like scrap metals, can provide a great return on your deconstruction cost!

A refrigerator, a stove and a washing machine sit outside a home on a grassy lawn.
Your unwanted appliances might find a new home if you chose to donate them instead of send them to landfill.

Donate Reusable Items, When and Where You Can

In addition to reducing landfill waste and helping others access more affordable materials, deconstruction also provides you with tax write-offs. You can claim every salvaged item donated to a 501(c)(3) charitable organization on your taxes as a donation at fair market value. These little savings can add up quickly and help offset the higher initial cost of deconstruction.

Many donation centers exist in Eagle County and across the Denver metro area for remodeled home materials. We’ve included a list of some of our favorite donation and recycling centers at the end of this blog post.

Book a Waste Collection Service for Your Home Remodel Waste Disposal

Not everything you pull from your home during a remodel can be donated or recycled. During the planning phase, consult with local hauler(s) to price out your options. A couple of types of haul offs include: 

  • Onsite roll-off
  • Dumpster
  • Heavy-duty contractor bag
  • Additional curbside bins. 

This can help you avoid overfilling your trash cans or piling unwanted refuse in your yard or driveway. The volume and quantity of trash bins will depend on the size and duration of your project. Most haulers will be happy to help you decide what’s best for your project.

Often, waste collectors offer on-site collection options for both trash and recycling. Always confirm pricing, availability, and any local recycling requirements and guidelines before booking waste collection services. The availability and capabilities of each hauler will vary by location. 

If your space is limited and you need a larger onsite receptacle for trash or recycling, you may need to contact your city’s public works department. They can provide you with a permit to keep the dumpster on the street.

Remodeling, Sustainably

Remodels are often as exciting as they are intimidating. Regardless of your project’s size and scope, bringing your vision to fruition will require hours of careful planning. The good news is you don’t have to plan, or execute on the planning, alone. 

By partnering with the right interior designer, you’ll be passing the responsibilities of salvaging, deconstruction and demolition to someone else. Your entire project will be handled promptly, professionally and sustainably – with less stress added to your plate. And this is just the benefit of working with a designer during the deconstruction phase. 


Let’s talk about your remodel project.

A man and a woman stand back to back with their arms crossed in a remodeled kitchen.
There are lots of places in the Denver Metro Area and in Eagle County where you can donate recyclable materials.

Post-Remodel Waste Disposal: Material Recycling Drop-Off & Donation Centers

Denver

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore (Denver metro locations)
    • Who they are: A network of donation centers that support Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to be homeowners. 
    • What they take: New and gently used furniture, lighting, flooring, hardware, appliances and more. 
  • Eco-Cycle (Boulder)
    • Who they are: Zero-waste nonprofit providing recycling and landfill diversion services for a wide range of materials through its CHaRM (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials). 
    • What they take: appliances, electronics, styrofoam, scrap metal, cables and wires, mattresses, ceramics, concrete and more. 
    • Eco-Cycle also hosts a comprehensive A-Z Recycling Guide on their website, which provides recycling guidance and drop-off location information for household items, construction materials, electronics and more.
  • Resource Central (Boulder)
    • Who they are: Local hub for landfill diversion and materials reuse. 
    • What they take: Community members are invited to donate usable construction materials to its reuse yard; customers can purchase donated items (e.g., lumber, cabinetry, doors, windows, bathtubs, sinks and more) for roughly a quarter of the price while keeping those same items from entering landfills.
  • SustainAbility Zero Waste Center (Arvada)
    • Who they are: Recycling and composting company that accepts a broad range of household items. 
    • What they take: hard-to-recycle materials (e.g., styrofoam, large plastic items, paint, ink/toner cartridges, batteries, etc.), electronics and more.
  • PaintCare (multiple locations) 
    • What they take: PaintCare sites accept house paint, primers, stains, sealers and clear coatings (e.g., shellac and varnish) for recycling. Acceptable volumes and quantities vary by location. Visit the drop-off site locator for more information.
  • Denver Scrap Metal Recycle Center 
    • Who they are: Scrap metal salvage center that offers cash in exchange for all types of non-ferrous metals.  
    • What they take: copper, aluminum, brass, bronze, stainless steel and more. 

Eagle County

  • Walking Mountains Science Center
    • Who they are: Provides recycling guidelines and drop-off locations for various items and materials. 
    • What they take: Various materials, including concrete, scrap metal, refrigerators, televisions, etc.)
    • Eagle County Waste Wizard will let you know the best options for proper recycling or disposal.
  • Eagle County Solid Waste and Recycling 
    • What they take: Accepts household hazardous waste (lawn and garden products, paint, paint strippers, rust removers, varnishes and stains, household cleaners, automotive fluids and batteries, mercury thermostats, batteries, swimming pool chemicals, sharps and syringes) at its Hazardous Waste Facility. Various electronics are also accepted for recycling, including computers, computer monitors, keyboards and mice, televisions, printers and fax machines, DVD players and VCRs), radios and stereos, video game consoles, laptops and tablets. Concrete (with and without rebar) may be recycled through the Eagle County Landfill’s Construction & Demolition Diversion site with prior approval. 
    • Contact the landfill for more information.
  • Vail Valley ReStore 
    • Who they are: A network of donation centers that support Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to be homeowners.
    • What they take: appliances, cabinets, doors, flooring, hardware, housewares, landscaping materials, lighting, lumber, plumbing parts, tools and windows. View Vail Valley ReStore’s full list of accepted items for donation here.
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