“Making more durable stuff has a positive effect on the environment because less gets thrown out and fewer natural resources like trees and minerals are consumed.” (Justin Green, Build It Green! Founder)
Build It Green! opened in Astoria in 2005 with an 18,000 square foot warehouse. After realizing that half of their clientele were making the hour-long trek from Brooklyn to Astoria to purchase materials, they opened a new Gowanus space in 2011. They knew this would be the perfect second location, since the area is bursting with artists and environmentalists.
Last year alone, the team kept 900 tons of material out of landfills. With their new warehouse buzzing, they know they’ll be able to double their reuse efforts this year. Considering the 16 to 19 thousand tons of construction demolition heaped on landfills each day, every bit of counteractive effort helps:
“The model here is to demonstrate all the valuable materials that otherwise would have been thrown out … to push for a different model of handling construction demolition waste.” (Justin Green, BIG! Founder)
The team at Build It Green! NYC, Gowanus, Brooklyn.
The team at BIG! actually goes in and carefully disassembles sites that otherwise would have been recklessly destroyed by contractors, who are usually only interested in speedy demolition – few contractors have the environment in mind. BIG! offers green training programs onsite at their warehouse, for those interested in learning about the extremely laborious yet vital process of recovering materials.
Not ready to battle contractors and save the environment with your brute force just yet? The team at BIG! had a slew of suggestions for increasing environmental awareness in your daily life:
1. Eat less meat.
2. Compost! All it involves is designating a pile or bin in which to mix certain household waste with natural materials. Nature takes care of the rest!
3. Vote for eco-conscious politicians who may increase the number of eco-friendly units like recycling bins.
4. Stick to environmentally conscious restaurants that use organic food, solar panels and reused building materials.
BIG!’s latest project? A large mosaic made out of broken pieces of toilets and glass, depicting a sun, earth and cityscape, soon to be emblazoned with “Build It Green!” at the top. In addition, the team is about to install a new store front made of salvaged windows.
BIG! also hosts a CSA in partnernship with 596 Acres, a New York City-based company that uses vacant plots for growing produce. The Gowanus team keeps the goods fresh in a walk-in cooler made with recovered air conditioners.
Stop by the warehouse next time you’re refurnishing, or just in the mood for some seasonal vegetables.