On the road again, goin' places that I've already been. Seeing things (and people) that I hope to see again. I'm just glad to be on this road again.
This week I'm in Rockford, Ill., home of my employer, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl.®, the organization behind The FABRICATOR® magazine, its sister publications, and thefabricator.com. The purpose of my visit is Staff Appreciation Week (SAW), an annual event the company hosts to express its gratitude for its hard working employees. We participate in physical and mental games (not to be confused with mind games), eat, spend time outdoors, eat, and commune with co-workers that we typically don't see in our normal workdays — which is particularly good for those of us who work hundreds of miles from the home office. And did I mention that we eat? (Maybe we need to add a company hike to work off all those extra calories?)
One of the perks of travel for me is picking up the complimentary USA Today in the hotel lobby. In my personal financial belt tightening, I decided that my subscription to the local newspaper was a discretionary spending item I could eliminate. After all, I can always read my news online. And by eliminating the paper, I reduced the amount of waste I had to recycle and maybe saved a few trees. So why is picking up the paper such a coveted perk for me? Because I really miss reading the printed paper. There's just something about the tactile experience of turning the pages coupled with the smell of ink that will forever make printed media more attractive to me than electronic.
If you’re still buying/reading newspapers, it's important that you recycle them. Today's USA Today politely encourages you to do so at the very bottom of the left-hand column on page 3A with the words "Please recycle." But those two words were not what made me think about recycling as I read the paper. What brought this topic to mind was a brief item on the front page entitled "Homes for sale, a piece at a time."
According to the article, "Recycling is expanding from newspapers and bottles to entire houses as foreclosures, tax credits and landfill costs prompt businesses and non-profit organizations to salvage materials from old homes.
"Stores are springing up to sell used lumber, appliances, cabinetry and flooring. Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit that builds and rehabs homes, has 550 such outlets, called 'ReStores.' Habitat's Mark Andrews says the number is growing 'almost daily.' He expects 100 more stores in the next year.
"'It's exploded all over the country' in five to seven years, consultant David Johnston says about the trend to deconstruct rather than demolish homes.
"Owners get a tax credit for donating goods and peace of mind for not dumping into landfills, says Johnston, founder of What's Working, a Colorado-based firm that consults on sustainable building."
"People are looking for products that are gently used but one-third the price … and they also want quality," and lumber and hardwood floors in old homes are often superior to those in newer ones, said Mark Foster of Second Chance in Baltimore, which deconstructs 75 houses annually.
Ted Reiff, president of ReUse People, an Oakland, Calif., non-profit that deconstructs more than 200 homes annually in several states, said that 75 to 80 percent of most homes can be reused.
Reiff also said deconstruction reflects society's growing desire to reuse things. "We don't throw away clothes. We take them to Goodwill. Why do we throw away building materials, which are worth a lot more than a shirt?"
Maybe this thinking could extend to gently used (I prefer the word experienced), high-quality workers?
Follow fabcomlady on Twitter.
Become a fan of The Fabricator® on Facebook.