8 Home Improvement Materials That You Can Recycle

Home improvement materials are increasingly judged by their ecological impact. What do you have that could be recycled?

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Photo courtesy FLOR

FLOR Carpet Tiles

FLOR, a brand focused on customized rugs, makes recycling of the utmost importance. The brand offers a Return & Recycle Program to turn old FLOR into new products. They’re also currently working with local partners from around the globe to turn discarded fishing nets into 100% recycled yarns for use in their new FLOR styles.

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In need of a new roof? Replacing the one you have is sure to leave behind a lot of scrap shingles. Be sure to ask your contractor if they’ll be recycling them. And if you’re doing your own re-roofing project, check to see if your local recycle park will take them off your hands, because those shingles can be used to make new shingles. You can even use them in your own yard, by laying them down as a pathway in your garden.

The number one use of recycled shingles is to make roads, however, not paths! After being ground up, they’re added to the pavement, which, according to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association may help improve the quality of the roads.

Photo: Courtesy of Cherokee County Landfill

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Family Handyman


Bricks are one of the oldest and most traditional construction materials, and they often make up a large percentage of construction waste produced by demolition and remodeling projects. There are so many ways to recycle bricks from home improvement renovations, including being used in new construction projects, remodeling projects, fireplaces, walls, walkways, landscaping projects and more. Also, there are brick recyclers who crush old bricks for use in landscapes, in place of sand. Some bricks are crushed very fine and used to make new bricks.

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Efetova Anna/Shutterstock

Paint Cans

While cans that still have paint in them should be disposed of through a hazardous waste program, empty paint cans have many recycling options. Paint containers are made of two types of readily recyclable materials. Both plastic and metal paint cans can be recycled and remade into the same kinds of containers, as well as many other industrial and commercial products. The High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) that makes up plastic paint pails is known for its strength and durability, and is one of the easiest, most popular and cost-effective plastics to recycle. Metal cans are made of steel, which can be recycled to make other steel products such as tools, equipment and building materials. Find out if you can recycle paint.

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Reclaimed wood is in high demand and you can possibly reuse some of the wood from your renovation project yourself. If there’s more wood than you can use, however, you can sell it, give it away or donate it to an organization such as Habitat for Humanity. Wood should never be wasted.

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Iron Bathtub

If you’re interested in getting rid of your cast iron tub and replacing it or choosing a different one, you may be met with a big question: what do you do with that big hunk of iron? Usually the best option is to bust up the old tub and sell the pieces to a scrap metal recycler. Wondering how to bust up on old cast iron tub? Let editor-in-chief Gary Wentz show you how in this video!

Check out these 12 things to consider when buying a new bathtub.

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Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock


If your drywall is lead paint-, asbestos- and nail-free, you can recycle it. The primary component in modern drywall is gypsum, which helps support agricultural growth. Many nurseries and parks put gypsum in the soil as a means for lowering acidity, add nutrients and improve water retention. Search “drywall recycling near me” to find out where you can recycle it. Check out these 20 tips for working with drywall.

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Khoruzhiy Aleksandr/Shutterstock


If it’s free of contaminants (motor oil, for example), concrete can be crushed and recycled and used as the dry aggregate for brand new concrete. Concrete pavements can also be broken down and used as a base layer for asphalt pavement. According to WBDG — a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences — by recycling concrete, you help reduce construction waste, extend the life of landfills, save builders disposal or tipping fees, and reduce transportation costs since concrete can usually be recycled on site. Take a look at these concrete demolition tools and tips.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com