Above Pic: “ugly” wood that I use for everything from studs to window frames.

Recycling is a great way to reuse materials and save money. It is important to keep in mind the extra costs of recycling.

If you get the materials for free, say from a salvage, that is a great starting point. It beats paying for it from a store.

But free or not you then have to have a use for it otherwise you need to pay to store it until the job is ready. This costs money.

Secondly, and this is often an issue with wood or metal studs, recycled material isn’t always clean. My carpenters have never felled a tree for wood. They are used to reaching their arm out and grabbing a perfectly cut clean piece of wood that fits exactly what they need. This is the consumer society we live in.

And I am always getting grief from my carpenters about this. I bring them ugly, nail ridden, odd sized wood and ask them to work with it. They don’t like it. It takes them precious time to clean the wood and size it for their needs.

In fact today one carpenter said he felt guilty because he was wasting so much of my time (=money) using the old wood instead of out of the box new wood.

But the important thing to understand is that it is still better. I would rather pay my carpenter the money instead of the store. Despite the obvious benefits of recycling etc, I’m still saving money.

I may pay the carpenter $20 extra but I save $15 because I didn’t pay for the wood. Even if I wasn’t saving any money at all I would still do it.

It makes too much sense not to do it. It means my carpenters need to slow down. It means my studs won’t be nice and clean looking. But it also means I’ve saved some trees, the wood is stronger than the crap they speed grow today, I’m lessened the landfill burden, and I might even save some money!