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In the News: Recycling Salvaged Materials Poses a Problem

So far during Eco-Chic month, I've given you tons of easy and stylish ways to create an environmentally-friendly home. But sometimes, even when you try, it's not as simple as you'd expect. An SFGate article recently tinkered with an issue we hear little about in these days of "Green is easy! Green is cheap!" Apparently, building codes in some of America's most environmentally progressive cities are preventing architects, builders, and homeowners from reusing building materials that already exist. Durable, salvaged building materials like glass doors, light fixtures, doors, and cabinets clash with safety codes, and restrictions against using materials that may contain lead or asbestos. To top it off, some state energy conservation codes are preventing these homeowners in these eco-conscious cities from reusing traditional incandescent bulbs, which pile high in salvage stock. As the article's author Arrol Gellner writes, this conundrum is "leaving well-intentioned green builders caught in a classic Catch-22[.]" One alternative I see is to find a use for salvaged materials as furnishings, not subject to building codes, like recycled light bulb vases and coffee tables made from salvaged doors.

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