By Wendy Gabriel on November 09, 2012

A Pittsburgh-based nonprofit has made a name for itself by offering up reusable building and surplus materials.

Construction Junction

If you live in or near Pittsburgh, you have access to an amazing nonprofit organization that promotes conservation through the reuse of building materials. Construction Junction’s mission is to keep usable building materials out of the landfill and provide them to the community at a reasonable price. The group is Pittsburgh’s first nonprofit building material reuse retailer specializing in used and surplus building materials.

A peek at Construction Junction’s current offerings confirms the nonprofit is living up to the task. For example, it has a drafting table for $250, a 1950s Filco freezer for $75 and a 14-piece kitchen set for $600 (at press time).

An environmentally friendly alternative to demolition or renovation is building deconstruction.

According to the Building Materials Reuse Association, “Deconstruction is the practice of disassembling a building in such a way that the materials (joists, flooring, siding, fixtures, and more) can be reused for new construction. Deconstruction is a cost competitive alternative to conventional building demolition.”

Construction Junction goes to jobsites and removes items that that it will sell at its retail store, including cabinets, doors with jambs, windows, trim and casement work and hardwood flooring. More extensive removal of slate, framing lumber, rafters and floor joists may be possible if the project timeline permits.

At the completion of the job, Construction Junction provides an itemized receipt for material. This can be used for tax purposes and/or potential LEED certification.

Donations of leftover materials can also be made to Construction Junction. Materials accepted include lumber, windows, doors, cabinets, hardware and other materials.

If all that doesn’t sound fantastic, there is more:

Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse

The second-floor and third-floor loft area of Construction Junction houses the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse Pittsburgh (PCCR). Like Construction Junction, PCCR keeps reusable materials out of landfills and sells them at a great price. In 2011, PCCR received more than $50,000 in donated materials, diverted more than 12 tons of waste from landfills and provided dozens of creative reuse programs for organizations ranging from the Penn Hills Library to the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

E-waste recycling

Construction Junction collaborates with eLoop llc to offer free electronic waste recycling for items dropped off by residential customers during business hours.

City recycling drop-off

A recycling drop-off station managed by the City of Pittsburgh is conveniently located in Construction Junction’s parking lot. Drop-offs are available during business hours only.

For more information about Construction Junction and the other materials the group accepts for reuse and recycling, visit constructionjunction.org. Construction Junction is located at 214 N. Lexington St. in Pittsburgh. Hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

About the author

Wendy Gabriel is a freelance eco-writer now based in Fresno, California. Gabriel and her work have been featured in numerous publications and websites including the Chicago Sun-Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fox Business News and Mashable.com. For nearly six years, she was a weekly contributor on a popular radio talk show in the Upper Midwest with a segment titled "Simple Tips for Green Living." Gabriel is an avid recycler, rainwater harvester, composter, thrifter and was instrumental in coordinating the planning and creation of a large mural made with recycled materials at a local elementary school in Fargo, North Dakota. Gabriel was the driving force behind starting a school garden program implemented at several Fargo schools. The founder of MyGreenSide.org and tweeting under @MyGreenSide, Gabriel has gone from the freezer (Fargo) to the furnace (Fresno) and could not be happier exploring California with the loves of her life, her husband and two daughters.
Learn more about Wendy Gabriel

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