Our stats show that more readers head to the Reclamation Administration over the Winter Season.
It’s a perfect time to Advertise Your Company to thousands interested in the reuse industry!
Crackedpots (crackedpots.org) is a small environmental art nonprofit in whose mission is waste reduction through reuse. This year this humble organization has quietly made a stunning leap forward for the reuse industry, by opening a retail store in a major mall in Portland, Oregon.
The Crackedpots Holiday Shop carries local, handcrafted products that are exclusively made from a minimum of 80% reclaimed materials. Recovered waste materials are transformed into furniture, lighting, fixtures, clothing, accessories, fine art, and craft. Items are made from salvaged metal, glass, textiles, jewelry, assemblage, wood and plastics.
By selling only reclaimed products in a major shopping center for the holidays, Crackedpots is mainstreaming the reuse market by leaps and bounds. The ReTuna Återbruksgalleria mall in Eskilstuna, Sweden is the only other known mall retail outlet pioneering exclusively reclaimed goods.
This unique organization has less than ten employees, working part time. The operating budget is under $100,000. They have three programs, the annual Reuse Art Show, the GLEAN art show, and ReClaim It! salvage store.
This summer’s 19th Annual Reuse Art Show converted over 20 tons of waste into retail products. Since 2014 Cracked Pots has diverted 413,310 pounds from the Metro Central Transfer Station.
By Sara Badiali
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I just wanted to thank you, because since I get all the updates through Reclamation Administration I found today out pieces from the old Waldorf Astoria in NYC are for sale – so I bought an old Waldorf Astoria door bell!!!! Yihaaa! – Diederick Kraaijeveld, Oudhout.com.
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Deconstruction vs. Demolition: Portland, Oregon’s Potential for Groundbreaking Health and Safety Studies in Building Demolition – By Sara Badiali
Demolition: deliberate destruction of a building or other structure.
Deconstruction: the systematic dismantling of a building in order to recover the maximum amount of materials for reuse and recycling.
The City of Portland is poised to contribute to the study of health and safety in building removal. The Deconstruction Ordinance will take effect starting October 2016. The ordinance outlines single family homes built before 1916 must be deconstructed for material reuse. Deconstructing buildings will greatly lower greenhouse gas emissions and material disposal in landfills over traditional demolition. Deconstruction not only provides access to unique materials but also viable building materials that would otherwise go to waste. The Deconstruction Ordinance will provide the first ever opportunity for side by side comparisons of demolition verses building deconstruction for environmental health and safety measures.
Portland presents an environment of blistering-fast paced development, houses upwards of one-hundred years old, and established demolition and deconstruction companies. Residential interest in environmental health and safety is at an all-time high due to incidents pertaining to lead and radon, and unprecedented housing demolition. Portland is also home to multiple academic organizations specializing in environmental health issues, health sciences, urban planning, and architecture.
By hosting studies of building removals, new information will lead to a better understanding of hazardous material reductions and ultimately best practices. Consequently research in Portland could be the catalyst for laws regulating more than standards for lead dust fall, but also heavy metals, asbestos, and water contamination in demolition practices.
Hazardous Particulates in Buildings
When a building is demolished, the mechanical action of crushing creates particulates of dust from the building’s materials. These particulates enter the air and spread throughout the environment. Machines repeatedly driving over the worksite further circulate these particulates. Atmospheric conditions like wind can exacerbate the spread of dust.
There are currently no U.S. federal regulatory standards for lead dust fall, exterior settled dust, or dust-suppression methods in housing demolition. There are also very few demolition dust fall related studies, or inquiries into whether hand dismantling structures (deconstruction) reduces the spread of potentially hazardous air particulates.
Lead and asbestos are by far the most studied and discussed of hazardous materials attributed to buildings. Asbestos is proven to cause the fatal diseases asbestosis, pleural disease, and lung cancer. According to a 2011 survey by U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, over 37 million homes have lead based paint somewhere in the building.  The majority of hazardous lead is in homes built before 1978.
One study indicates that 37 billion square feet of building components are coated with deteriorated lead-based paint. A 2008 study of lead exposures in U.S. children found that “Exposure to lead can occur from many pathways and sources, but housing is the main pathway of exposure in the U.S., accounting for approximately 70% of childhood lead poisoning cases.”
There are other less well known potential health hazards in buildings. Arsenic and heavy metals like chromium, copper, iron, and manganese are harmful to humans. These heavy metals are thought to be from use of pressure treated wood manufactured before 2003. Mercury is a common toxic waste present in buildings, including gas pressure regulators, boiler heating systems, and thermostats. According to the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority “The amount of mercury present in one mercury thermometer is enough to pollute 5 million gallons of water.” That is the capacity to contaminate a 20-acre lake with enough mercury to result in a fish consumption warning, says Wastecap of Massachusetts. Benzene, a chemical related to natural gas, is also found harmful to humans. Environmental dust is especially problematic for people who suffer from asthma.
For over a year I’ve been meeting with a group of Portlanders working on writing language to create a deconstruction resolution.
My fellow Deconstruction Advisory Group participants encompass salvage, deconstruction, builders, neighborhood coalitions, Portland City and Metro Regional Government representatives. We were effectively trying to do something that’s never been done before.
Many states and municipalities across the country have ordinances requiring construction and demolition debris to be diverted from landfills. Not one has ever used the language or required diversion to be done by deconstructing buildings.
Since 2011 I have been researching and posting on building material reuse. From my research I have created resource pages on Policies and Ordinances across the country. In five years I have never found deconstruction in any of the rules regarding waste diversion in the United States. Or Canada. Or Europe.
On Wednesday, February 17, 2016 – Portland made history!
Portland City Council approved the resolution that directs the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to develop code language that requires projects seeking a demolition permit of a house or duplex to fully deconstruct that structure if it was built before 1916 or is a designated historic resource.
“Today Portland became the first city in the country to ensure that the act of taking down the homes of our past has the least amount of impact on the environment and the surrounding neighbors,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “Keeping valuable materials out of the landfill reduces carbon emissions and gives people affordable options for fixing up their homes.”
Presentation by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. To see Sara Badiali testifying for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales start video at 2:45.
The resolution language and Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability press release.
Stay tuned for the article about my experience on the Deconstruction Advisory Group and testifying before Portland’s City Council. Congratulations Portland!
Here at the RA we have a strong ethic of volunteerism, and we are happy that others do too. Our internships are educational experiences tailored to the interests and goals of our participants, and of course our readers! We are always thrilled when people step up to participate.
This spring we are super excited to have Michaela join us in creating new content by writing articles and updating resources.
Michaela is a student at Metropolia University in Helsinki, Finland studying sustainable building engineering. Her interest in innovative building was sparked with an initial project in the Mojave Desert at Aquarius Ranch on a super adobe dome underneath UFOs and starry skies.
She stumbled into the natural building world through working on organic farms and continued on with projects utilizing cob, light-clay straw, adobe, and infinite recycled materials. After working at cafes and arts non-profits to support her wanderlust, she chose to return to the Nordic region to get back to her building passion.
She currently is on work placement with Whole Trees Architecture in her native Wisconsin with one of her architectural heroes, Roald Gundersen. In the future she hopes to creatively develop accessible hybridized building techniques. She believes natural materials, inspiring integrated design, cradle-to-cradle material reuse, and updated vernacular architecture are the future for a sustainable built environment.
When she’s not brainstorming building compositions and calculating structural integrity you’ll find her biking aimlessly, foraging in the forests, enjoying beers at a sauna evening and flipping around with her acrobatics group.
Look for articles by Michaela over the next few months!
For an updated, comprehensive look at Demolition Health Hazards and Waste (including water) Read: Deconstruction vs. Demolition: Portland, Oregon’s Potential for Groundbreaking Health and Safety Studies in Building Demolition – By Sara Badiali
In 2008 while working in DeConstruction Services for The ReBuilidng Center in Portland, Oregon I researched water usage in demolition. I was biking to work and saw the Wonder Bread Headquarters building being demolished. The building was still full of furniture and I remember seeing papers flying out of the filing cabinets. Huge hoses propelled water into the air and soaked materials as they fell off the open floors. It wasn’t until later that I realized even though I talked to people every day about the benefits of deconstruction over demolition, I never said anything about water conservation.
Six years later I still do not see water conservation in the list of reasons why deconstruction is beneficial. Materials saved produce markets and economic benefits. Jobs are created and the list of environmental advantages including emissions reductions are facts that are well used. It is time to add water conservation and air quality to our curriculum.
In 2008 my research on water usage in demolition lead me to Trip Turner a Project Manager at Elder Demolition. He explained that the hoses they used to spray the water for dust suppression were one to two inches in diameter. That the water is typically stopped from going into the sewer systems by caps and then collected to be disposed of as hazardous materials. Why hazardous material? Trip explained that the water picks up benzene, a chemical in natural gas along with other particulates. He told me that to demolish a 5,000 square foot building they typically use 6,000 gallons of water. That comes out to roughly 1.2 gallons of water per square foot of building.
That is over a gallon of clean water for every square foot of building that is being demolished to keep air quality on a demolition site legally safe.