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Choosing Deconstruction Services: A Step Towards a Sustainable Future

When it comes to renovating or dismantling a structure, the traditional method is demolition. However, there's a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative called deconstruction. At Better Futures Minnesota, we advocate for deconstruction over demolition for several compelling reasons, with the first being its positive impact on the environment and our community.

The Environmental Perspective

Demolition has long been the go-to method for clearing out old buildings, but it comes with a significant environmental cost. The process often results in a large amount of waste, with more than 90% ending up in our landfills. Furthermore, demolition can have adverse effects on groundwater, contaminating it with hazardous materials.

Deconstruction, on the other hand, is a more environmentally friendly approach. By carefully dismantling a structure, we ensure that materials are salvaged, reused, and resold at our ReUse Warehouse Store. This not only reduces the amount of waste heading to landfills but also conserves resources by giving materials a second life. The environmental benefits are clear: less waste, less pollution, and a smaller carbon footprint.

Supporting Our Community

Choosing Better Futures Deconstruction services isn't just good for the planet; it's also a way to support positive change in the lives of individuals in our workforce development program. By choosing our services, you're providing meaningful employment opportunities to men who are working hard to turn their lives around.

Our team members are OSHA 10 certified and receive hands-on training before joining our crews. This ensures that they are well-prepared and skilled in deconstruction techniques, all while building a foundation for a better future for themselves. By supporting our services, you're directly contributing to their journey towards stability and success.

A Win-Win Solution

Choosing deconstruction over demolition is a win-win solution. Not only are you making a choice that benefits the environment you are also playing a role in transforming lives. At Better Futures Minnesota, we're committed to providing high-quality deconstruction services while making a positive impact on our community and the planet.

Next time you're considering a renovation or dismantling project, think about the broader implications of your choice. Choosing deconstruction is a step towards a more sustainable future and a way to support individuals striving for a better life. Together, we can make a difference—one deconstruction project at a time. Contact us today to learn the other benefits of our Deconstruction services.

The meaningful work done by Better Futures Minnesota is made possible by the funding provided by the Minnesota Environment & Natural Resource trust fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

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Embracing Environmental Stewardship: How Better Futures Minnesota Leads the Way.

At Better Futures Minnesota, we are committed to environmental stewardship, a principle that guides our various programs and initiatives. Our mission is not just about supporting individuals on their journey to a better future, but also about protecting our planet for generations to come. In this blog post, we'll explore the different ways we're making a positive impact on the environment through waste diversion and recycling efforts.

Curbside Pickup Program in Bloomington, MN

A new initiative we started last year is the curbside pickup program in Bloomington, MN. This program focuses on collecting bulky items like mattresses, furniture, appliances, and other large household items. Instead of these items ending up in landfills, we ensure that they are either reused or recycled, giving them a new lease on life, and reducing the environmental impact of waste.

Transfer Station in Becker County & East Central Solid Waste Commission

Our efforts extend to Becker County and the East Central Solid Waste Commission, where we've helped their transfer station divert waste by starting a reuse retail operation. This approach allows us to resell items that would otherwise be destined for the landfill. By giving these items a second chance, we not only reduce waste but also provide affordable options for community members looking for gently used goods.

Appliance Recycling Program

Appliances are a significant source of waste, but they also contain valuable materials that can be recycled. Our appliance recycling program is designed to capture harmful substances like freon and recycle the various components of each appliance. This not only prevents environmental pollution but also conserves resources by ensuring that metals, electronics, and other materials are recycled.

Deconstruction Services

Our deconstruction services are at the heart of our commitment to environmental stewardship. Instead of demolishing buildings and sending the debris to landfills, we carefully dismantle structures to salvage materials for resale at our ReUse Warehouse Store. This approach not only minimizes waste but also preserves the embodied energy in building materials, reducing the overall environmental impact of construction and demolition.

A Comprehensive Approach to Environmental Stewardship

At Better Futures Minnesota, our environmental stewardship is about taking a comprehensive approach to sustainability. Our programs are designed to address various aspects of waste management, from curbside pickup to appliance recycling and deconstruction services. By diverting waste from landfills and promoting reuse and recycling, we're not just protecting the environment; we're also creating a model for sustainable practices that create positive benefits to our communities.

The meaningful work done by Better Futures Minnesota is made possible by the funding provided by the Minnesota Environment & Natural Resource trust fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

Across the world, forward-thinking cities, municipalities, and lawmakers are thinking about landfill waste in new ways. In July, for example, Portland, Ore. became the first city in the country to ensure that valuable materials from demolished houses are salvaged for reuse instead of crushed and landfilled.

Here in the Twin Cities, landfilling is becoming a growing problem, according to a recent story in the Star Tribune. "While landfilling has been on the decline locally since a peak in 2006, the Twin Cities still sent more than twice as much trash to landfills in 2015 by weight than it did a quarter century ago, data show....That 774,000 tons weighs more than two Empire State Buildings. After being compacted, that's still about a Metrodome-sized mass of leftover food, product packaging, and other garbage entering the ground every two years."

In addition, that's also a lot of construction and demolition waste entering the ground. In Minnesota, more than 80 percent of the 1.6 million tons of construction and demolition waste was landfilled in 2013, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The MPCA is increasingly concerned about construction and demolition waste, which now exceeds more than traditional household and commercial waste. Yet much of this waste can be recycled or reused, not only reducing waste in the landfill, but greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2016, through deconstruction services, Better Futures Minnesota helped recycle or reuse more than 1,571 tons of building materials. In fact, for each deconstruction job, skilled crews worked to recycle and reuse 85 percent of all building materials. The end result: 750.5 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions were avoided, according to Ecotone Analytics Environmental Impact Analysis.

Greenhouse gas emissions include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to creating healthy, strong communities in Minnesota.

At Better Futures Minnesota, we're committed to transforming the lives of men, creating good, green jobs, and helping Minnesota get to net-zero waste. Learn more about how you can support our mission!

Across Minnesota, older homes and barns are being demolished to make way for new buildings or farmland. When buildings are demolished, harmful chemicals and pollutants—like lead and asbestos—are released in the air. In addition, when buildings such as old barns are burned, the old-growth wood is not only wasted, but it produces noxious smoke that's harmful to human and environmental health.

Recently, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been trying to educate the public about the growing issue of demolishing and burning buildings. The organization suggests that demolished building materials, such as concrete and wood, be turned over to specially permitted facilities for proper disposal.

Yet a better solution is gaining steam across the country: deconstruction and reuse. Many buildings, especially those built before 1978, contain harmful lead and asbestos. Deconstruction carefully removes all building materials for safe recycling and reuse--greatly reducing the amount of waste in the landfills and avoiding hazardous plumes of lead and asbestos that occur from typical demolition. In addition, deconstruction supports public health by reducing the additional greenhouse-gas emissions that come from adding to the landfill.

On average, construction and demolition materials account for a quarter of the waste in all landfills. In Minnesota, more than 80 percent of the 1.6 million tons of construction and demolition waste was landfilled in 2013. According to the EPA, for each ton of construction and demolition waste (2,000 pounds) that goes into a landfill, 2.79 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases, including methane and CO2, are released into the atmosphere.

Through deconstruction with a specially trained crew, as much as 90 percent of of this waste can be recycled or reused, and sold below retail cost in places like Better Futures Minnesota's ReUse Warehouse.

Learn more about how deconstruction at Better Futures Minnesota is creating jobs, protecting the environment, and supporting a healthier Minnesota!

A 2015 Yale University study shows that 12.8 percent of total materials in landfills is construction and demolition waste. Of those building materials, nearly 80 percent could have been recycled or reused.

Better Futures Minnesota’s deconstruction services recycles or reuses 75 to 85 percent of all building materials. In 2015, through our deconstruction services and ReUse Warehouse, we worked to divert nearly 700 tons of construction and demolition waste from Minnesota’s landfills. What's more, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's lifecycle analysis, that resulted in a diversion of 800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions that cause pollution and respiratory illnesses. When materials are recycled or reused, greenhouse gas emissions are avoided.

Deconstruction provides an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to demolition. Unlike demolition, deconstruction carefully removes a structure so that materials are recycled, repurposed, or reused instead of being sent to a landfill. Through our specialized deconstruction services, we work to recover salvageable building materials and divert as much material from the landfill as possible. Through deconstruction and reuse, we can help cities like Minneapolis get to zero waste!

In 2015, through our deconstruction services and Reuse Warehouse:

Learn more about how deconstruction creates jobs and protects Minnesota's environment.

Better Futures Minnesota seeks to disrupt this growing public health crisis through effective, compassionate practices and services that work to avoid victimization costs and provide men with the opportunities they need to become productive citizens, fathers, employees, and neighbors.
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