Waste Awareness

I really love that more people are becoming more and more aware about “waste” – their waste – the stuff that they need to get out of their space. In the old days, one just dumped it in the “trash” and let the sanitation department worry about it. That is thankfully what is changing.

Recently, in our email, we received news of the “Save A Sample – Design Sample Recycling Drive”. Our business has incrementally moved away from the “business as usual” model of catalogs and samples sent out to every possible target. The nature of interior design seems to us to be changing and there is somewhat of a move away from a room full of “stuff” and someone to mind it in favor of “just in time specific samples”. So, we are adapting to that mindset as well. Still, there is an abundance of the “stuff” out there in the field remaining and continuing to flow in. Two of the largest sources of continuous sample chain sets and brochures – Formica and Wilsonart – have invested significantly in this year’s drive that now includes 8 cities in this it’s 16th year.


So, what does “Save A Sample” do ? It transfers thousands of pounds of materials (unused brochures, fabrics, laminates, tiles and finish cards used within the interior and architectural professions) via the help of local furniture dealers and installers, to students at local design schools. This offers a relatively low cost method of supplying students with a richer set of resources for their studies during the educational year. For more information visit www.saveasample.com.


“Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.” ~ 2004 statement of philosophy for the Zero Waste International Alliance. This organization continues to have annual conferences. The next one will be in Oct in Canada. More information here – http://zwia.org/events/

Construction & Demolition Waste Composition

Construction & Demolition
Waste Composition

The construction and demolition industries have become more aware of the waste that these generate. Builder’s Booksource offers a LEED-based toolkit for “Recycling Construction and Demolition Waste” that suggests that it is possible to recycle “as much as 95 percent of new construction and demolition waste, reuse existing materials, and comply with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED waste management guidelines”. There is a Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) that promotes and defends the environmentally sound recycling of the more than 325 million tons of recoverable construction and demolition (C&D) materials which are generated in the United States annually. These materials include aggregates such as concrete, asphalt, asphalt shingles (roofing), gypsum wallboard (drywall), wood and metals.

I know how moving into a business involved with recycling really began to affect our own perspectives. We recycle everything possible – plastic, paper including cardboard, glass and metal. We compost everything organic. Our landfill trash is the least significant of our wastes. I’d love to say we are Zero Waste – maybe someday. It is certainly a goal to strive for. Yet, we do live in a modern era and we depend upon those who design and develop products to continue doing what they do best and we are grateful that awareness about waste, has become an important component of such thinking.

~ Information Resources

Save A Sample – Design Sample Recycling Drive – http://www.saveasample.com

Zero Waste International Alliance – http://zwia.org/events/

Recycling Construction and Demolition Waste – A LEED-Based Toolkit – http://www.buildersbooksource.com/cgi-bin/booksite/25298.html

Construction & Demolition Recycling Assoc – http://www.cdrecycling.org/


Blog author ~ Deborah Hart Yemm is co-founder of
Yemm & Hart, a green materials producer



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