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What to do with home repair and remodeling waste

It's the word that strikes fear into a homeowner's heart: "Remodeling!"

Yes, this is the beginning of remodeling season, but no, your project doesn't have to be a nightmarish experience. Figuring out what to do with the waste can be one of the most annoying aspects of remodeling, so here are a few tips:

Get answers. The most comprehensive source of local information on what to do with home remodeling waste is King County's "What Do I Do With…?" website.

  1. Click on Select a Category
  2. Then choose Construction/Demolition Debris.
  3. Choose the appropriate categories of materials,
  4. Lastly, click on Residence (as opposed to Business).

You'll find options for recycling or properly disposing of everything from insulation to your old toilet (under porcelain). Many of the drop-off locations are not too far from Auburn, and you can also have items picked up for a higher fee.

Keep it clean. Keep your types of waste separated. For example: Clean wood (unpainted and untreated); scrap metal; drywall; reusable's (such as sinks or fixtures). This makes it much easier to get the stuff recycled, reused or properly disposed of. It will also save you money, since it will cost more to dump it than to recycle some or all of it (although fees may be charged for recycling).

Reuse it or lose it. The greenest way to deal with your remodeling castoffs – including windows, doors, lumber and fixtures – is to have them reused. Ask your neighbors if they want them, or check the Reusable Building Materials section in the "What Do I Do With…?" website. It lists stores, such as Second Use Building Materials in south Seattle that may take your reusable items. You can also find great used materials there for your own project.

Get on the same page. If contractors are doing some of your work, make sure they understand your desire to get as much of the waste recycled as possible. If they say recycling will cause them added work, try to help them figure out a way to do it – finding closer recycling locations or consolidating loads, for example – that will save them time and save you money.

Isn't remodeling fun! Not really. But at least the getting-rid-of-stuff part will go much better when you go green.

Information provided by Tom Watson in the King County Solid Waste Division and the City of Auburn Solid Waste & Recycling Division.