APRIL 2009

Oregon DEQ awards grant to salvage useful materials

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has awarded a $50,000 solid waste grant that the Portland Habitat ReStore will use to launch an outreach program and branding campaign to educate businesses and consumers about the value of new salvaged building materials. The goal is to increase its collection and sales of building materials, thus decreasing the amount of materials discarded as waste.

DEQ is awarding the grant to the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, which will supervise the project and use of the grant monies by the Portland Habitat ReStore. The ReStore is a non-profit operation that accepts tax-deductible donations of both used and new salvage building materials at its southeast Portland retail outlet. The ReStore plans to use the grant monies to hire a donor development manager who will develop a branding campaign for new salvaged materials. The donor development manager will also contact Portland metro-area businesses to encourage them to donate any unwanted, new materials to the ReStore, which resells the materials to the public at a discount.

Many building materials currently disposed of in landfills are from demolition or deconstruction projects and are “new” salvage materials. These items (such as plumbing fixtures, various hardware, caulk, grout, siding, tile and carpet) include freight-damaged materials, close-outs and remnants. Many are still usable and in perfect condition. These newer materials now make up about 40 percent of the ReStore’s inventory.

The grant will pay for the donor development manager’s full salary during the first year of the grant period and a portion in the second year. Habitat ReStore expects to reclaim at least 510 tons of additional reusable materials by the end of the two-year grant period. AmeriCorps VISTA and others will provide another $50,000 in matching resources. In addition, MarketScape Inc., a marketing consulting firm, will guide the ReStore in developing a strategic marketing plan that the ReStore will use to educate businesses and individuals about the value of new salvage materials, amounting to $5,000 in additional matching funds.