Turning jobsites green takes discipline, but even small changes can make a difference. “I've always been amazed by how much stuff goes to the landfill,” says Dale Conant, president of Atlanta Design & Build, in Marietta, Ga. His company is minimizing those trips, thanks in part to an innovative program aimed at reducing the volume of waste from remodeling projects. “We've been surprised by how many things can be salvaged,” he says.

The program, the Circle of Good, is sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. (Learn more at www.remodelingmagazine.com/webxtras.) Atlanta Design & Build is one of three companies participating in the pilot project.

This “before” picture shows Atlanta Design & Build's Dale Conant  in a kitchen whose cabinets, sink, and appliances were reused or donated.
This “before” picture shows Atlanta Design & Build's Dale Conant in a kitchen whose cabinets, sink, and appliances were reused or donated.

On a recent $200,000 remodel, Conant's crew wasn't able to reuse or recycle everything, but they did find new uses for much of the cabinetry, tile, appliances, and copper wiring. A salvage company took old flooring, trim, and drywall. “They run it through their choppers, and about 18 months later it turns into dark mulch,” says Greg Ridgeway, production manager. Old carpeting became floor protection, as did the cardboard boxes in which the new appliances were delivered.

“We can be smarter in remodeling,” Conant says. He speculates that it's just a matter of time before widespread recycling pickups make these efforts more cost-effective for companies like his.