ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Waste Edition

Talk about being the last one to discuss a subject – Extreme Makeover home edition has been on the air for years, and honestly, I never watch the show.  Well there was nothing on TV last night, and the kids wanted to watch – so I did – up until the part where the demo crew comes in.  What a colossal waste of materials, resources and ultimately a landfill nightmare.

OK, let me back up a minute, and explain why this show caught my ire. Two years ago, I was part of a remarkable project entitled the Reuse Everything Experiment (REX).  My job was to market the project, and do my PR thing to get reporters and writers interested.  Here’s the premise – take an old dilapidated home, de-construct the home – saving every single piece, and reuse everything back into a new home construction project – all on the same lot. 

Sounds challenging – and it was.  It was the first ever project that truly reused every part (including the rusty old nails), back into a new home – and 99% of everything was reused.  Obviously, the reason I was involved was the eco-nature of the project, and it was something I believe in. 

Here’s what I learned – you can do it, and save money.  60% of all landfill waste is construction related – and 40% of that waste is still useable.

Now let’s jump back to last night’s show.  Nothing was reused, not even the functional appliances, not one 2X4, not one brick, nothing.  A colossal waste.  Sure, I’m not heartless to the fact that the family got a new home and they are happy.  I’m just not happy with overflowing landfills for the sake of ratings.  This is classic of our broken thinking – out of site, out of our minds…

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