& Sat-Sun 10am-5pm
In 2012 BIG!NYC:
* Diverted 1,200 tons of reuseable building materials from the landfill
* Donated over 57 tons of lumber to community & school gardens. That's 1,200 raised garden beds in NYC!
* Gave away $58,780 worth of materials to local organizations.
6/22 BIG!Workshops: Build a Bench @ BIG!NYC Gowanus
6/23 BIG!Workshops: Record Your Thoughts! Book Binding with Shannon @ BIG!NYC Gowanus
6/25 BIG!Workshops: Know Your Tools: Women and Trans DIY 101 @ BIG!NYC Gowanus
6/27 BIG!Workshops: Mosaic What Yo Momma Gave You! Round 2 @ BIG!NYC Gowanus
6/29 BIG!Workshops: Unconventional Embroidery with Brooklyn Craft Farm @ BIG!NYC Gowanus
7/10-8/1 BIG!Workshops: Upholstery 101 with Annie Evelyn (eight part class) @ BIG!NYC Gowanus(8 sessions)
7/13 BIG!Workshops: Rainwater Harvesting with Adam Katzman @ BIG!NYC Gowanus
7/16 Brooklyn Bridge Park Green Series: Urban Gardening Design Challenge @ Brooklyn Bridge Park
7/20 BIG!Workshops: Create Your Own Pendant Light with Urban Chandy @ BIG!NYC Gowanus
The "L" Magazine - July 5-18
|The Conscientious Objector|
|Dumpster Divers Unite|
|Building Green in the Dirty City|
|By Amanda Park Taylor|
We see it everywhere: New York is experiencing the greatest building boom in its history, and construction and demolition sites dot the landscape. Down in DUMBO, where construction and renovation and demolition are all taking place in a tiny area at great speed, an armada of dumpsters filled with leftover materials often tempts me, an inveterate dumpster-diver and frequent fixer-upper, with pristine 2x4s, metal studs, and large pieces of drywall. And that’s just what I can see sticking out of the tops of the massive containers; God only knows what lies beneath.
According to the Build It Green website, New York City disposes of some 13,000 tons of construction waste every day. It’s mind boggling. Add to the sheer waste of materials the cost and energy consumption of trucking the waste out and new materials in, and you’ve got one heck of a big problem. But Build It Green N.Y. may have a solution.
In a 17,000-square foot warehouse in Queens, this offshoot of the Community Environmental Center, a green-building organization for New York residents, reclaims and sells building materials and fixtures to individuals and contractors. Donations to B.I.G. are tax deductible, and come from projects both large and small. Hundreds of doors fill one wall, windows, sinks and tubs await new homes, and lumber, tile, flooring and more are also on offer. There are boxes of ceramic tile and hundreds of gallons of paint. And it’s all really cheap.
At the heart of the B.I.G. project are their deconstruction services: they’ll put together a team of deconstructors to take apart a building or interior, offering the building’s owner tax deductions, a clearer conscience, and reduced disposal costs in exchange for the materials they cart away. With just two deconstruction projects they’ve kept almost 100,000 pounds of “waste” from going to, well, waste.
And, best of all, any money earned from the sales of materials at B.I.G. goes to support environmental education programs at Solar 1, a sustainable living center in Stuyvesant Cove Park on the East River in Manhattan. Sure beats shopping at Home Depot, which at best is a depressing box store experience, and when you consider their donations to the Republicans… well, that’s another column entirely (if you need to know now, visit citizen.org). There’s more going on in the world of building supplies than I ever imagined.
On the day that I visited Build It Green, all kinds of folks were shopping. Some, greeted warmly by the staff, were obviously repeat visitors. A young Polish builder filled a small van with a range of materials; when I told him I was glad to see a professional taking advantage of the place he said “Yeah, of course — the stuff is perfectly good, and so cheap.” A young woman perused the air-conditioners ($65 each) and an artist type poked around in the lumber bins. I found a lovely light fixture, for $8, and a beautiful old piece of marble to use as a small countertop, for $20.
So if you’re renovating, please think of donating, or purchasing (or both!). Even if you’re living in an un-improvable rental you can always pitch in and volunteer, helping to clean up materials, or the warehouse, and, by extension, the city.
Build It Green N.Y.