Learn how to refurbish old materials for use in future projects.
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Increasingly, many old and discarded items are becoming stylish centerpieces in modern renovations. As a result, reclamation yards are now big business and, while this means bargains are harder to come by, the increased competition has led to some stabilization of prices. Positive consequences of this expansion are greater choice and the potential to compare products in different yards. When visiting a reclamation yard, it often pays to go with an open mind as they are places where inspiration can strike. However, it is also important to be as certain as you can that the products you buy fulfill their specifications.
Recycling building materials is not only very green, in some cases, it can be financially beneficial. The most notable example of this is the current enthusiasm for old metal fittings and fixtures, such as copper pipes, brass plumbing fittings, lead pipes and flashings. All materials of this kind can be taken to scrap yards, where they are weighed and, from this measurement, a price is calculated. Although the price obviously varies, in the current market all these materials seem to be increasing in value. It is always best to take a sizeable pile of goods to the yard, as they may only pay for items over certain weights. Try to arrange the goods by type, as the more sorted the metal, the higher the price received — the price paid for a mixed load of metal will be far less than for metal that has already been sorted into different categories. Other goods that can be recycled, but are unlikely to fetch a price, are plastics such as PVC, rainwater goods and wood. These can be taken to a recycling center. Remember that if you are carrying out major works, any rubble or building spoil could potentially be recycled directly as hardcore.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
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