Eco friendly ways to get rid of renovation waste

Did you know that residential renovations in Canada contribute more than 2 million tonnes of waste a year? Some home improvement projects, like installing draft-proof windows or energy-efficient appliances, can go a long way in reducing your carbon footprint, but they can also produce a lot of waste if not planned responsibly. 

On your next project, make sure you renovate responsibly. Put the three “r's” back in renovation with these tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle your home improvement refuse.

Pare down on packaging

Photo by Luka Siemionov from Pexels

Many furniture and manufacturing companies have recycling programs in place to reduce their environmental impact, so it's worthwhile to inquire about their initiatives. When you place your next order, ask if the distributor can minimize the amount of packaging they use for your shipment or see if they'll pick up and reuse packaging. If they don't, inquire about how to recycle the materials.

Reface, don't replace

Renovations don't have to be a total “out with the old, in with the new” overhaul. When planning your next home reno project, aim to reface and repurpose as much as possible. Could those kitchen cabinets be transformed with repaint? A fresh coat can work wonders on waste and budget reduction – just make sure to use eco-friendly paints and avoid those containing volatile organic compounds. 


Help someone else build their dream home by donating your loved-in furniture, appliances and other items. Organizations such as Habitat ReStore, the Welcome Collective and Diabetes Canada will pick up your contributions and find them a new home. 

Swap your scraps

DIY workspace make with pallet. Computer blank on the desk

One person's abandoned toilet may be another person's readymade pièce de résistance. Just because you haven't found a way to upcycle furnishings or scraps, don't assume others can't. Hawk your unwanted goods online in exchange for something you want or need or curbside pick-up.  


Once you've reduced and reused what you can, it's time to recycle. Add sawdust, cardboard and other shredded paper materials to compost heaps. Small plastics, aluminum and glass items can be put out for regular collection, while larger items can be brought to depots or picked up by collection companies. If you're unsure about what to bring where, contact your local recycling center. 

Dispose of hazardous waste safely

Photo: Hilary Halliwell via Pexels

Some things can't be recycled, so make sure household hazardous waste is disposed of responsibly. Everything from batteries and paint thinners to furniture cleaners may contain toxins, corrosives or flammable properties, which can leach out of landfills, contaminating soil and water. Read labels, keep materials tightly sealed in their original containers and don't mix products or dump anything down the drain. Then, refer to your province's household hazardous waste collection program.

Build an eco-friendly home

Photo: Flo Pappert via Unsplash

In addition to rebates and incentives governments offer for energy efficient home improvements, going green can make your next renovation more sustainable. Fortunately, many retailers are shifting to renewable materials, but there's plenty we can do in the meantime. For instance, you could switch to energy efficient appliances or consider paper composite kitchen countertops. If you're planning to build, a REALTOR® can help you find land for your dream eco-home. 

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