Louisiana, USA – Dave Bennink of Re-Use Consulting was asked by the group Core USA to travel to New Orleans in Louisiana to help manage America’s largest deconstruction crew. Over 2,700 volunteers traveled to New Orleans to help and learn about building deconstruction and salvage work, and how it could help their communities around the United States. The event was a great opportunity to promote the benefits of building material reuse operations.
Volunteers were eager to get their hands dirty, but each group first sat through an educational session and safety talk. Bennink told a hypothetical story of how unemployed workers from where they live could literally walk to work where they would deconstruct blighted inner-city structures. These structures would produce materials that could be sold to lower-income building owners that couldn’t afford new, and to historic renovation projects that couldn’t use new products.
Once this talk was over, the volunteers helped local workers to deconstruct blighted buildings surrounding a local daycare center, and the materials were made available to local groups. This project was another example of how salvage businesses are striving for the elusive win-win scenario, where the environment and social benefits are achieved at a profit. Bennink’s hope is that those 2,700+ volunteers will spread the word once they return home and potentially join the reuse movement someday soon.