One man’s waste, another man’s window in Vail Valley |

One man’s waste, another man’s window in Vail Valley

Hillary Birch
Vail, CO Colorado

One man’s waste, another man’s window

VAIL, Colorado –Given the current state of the economy, it seems that remodeling is not a priority for the average family in Colorado’s Vail Valley. But if you could purchase materials at an extremely discounted price it would certainly become more feasible.

RECON, part of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, is seeking to remodelling and construction more affordable. Started in the summer of 2005 and modeled after a similar organization in Boulder, RECON strives to take construction items would have been thrown into the landfill and recycle them back into the community.

Located in Wolcott next to the landfill, RECON acts as a construction materials exchange that takes donations from major contractors and local homes, and resells them to the community at an extremely discounted price.

“If I think I can sell it, I’ll take it,” said Alex Kestly, executive director of the site. “I see people driving by on their way to the landfill every day and I want to yell, ‘stop!'”

Materials that usually are discarded and require a dumping fee can be donated to RECON, written off as a tax deductible, and then recycled.

“It’s a win, win, win,” Kestly says.

With an abundance of construction taking place in Vail, an excessive amount of building waste is produced. The Wolcott landfill, which has a life expectancy of only 14 years ,is continuously bombarded with these building materials,. “

“Over 50 percent of items going into the landfill are wood products that can potentially be recycled,” Kestly said.

Due to this overflow of building materials being discarded, Eagle County’s per capita waste rate at the landfill is more than twice the national average.

Aside from reducing the waste, RECON seeks to help the community by offering practically new items at less than half the cost. Sometimes the donated items are brand new and still in their wrapping.

A window at Home Depot that sells for $250 would sell for $50 to $100 at RECON, Kestly said.

Although the items generally aren’t refurbished or altered after donation, and don’t come with a warranty, there is a great deal of guidance available.

“If I can’t answer a question, I’ll find someone who can,” Kestly says Alex.

RECON also has a weekly e-mail list that updates subscribers to when new material comes in.

Although a lot of contractors already contribute, “we’re trying to get the word out to larger contractors and people cleaning out their garages, to come and donate,” Kestly says. “At the very least, swing by during our donation hours and let us have a look at what you’ve got, before it gets thrown away.”

Paradigms restaurant in Eagle used materials from RECON for a remodel that cost a fraction of the price, says owner Nathan McMullen.

“We’ve used them a lot” says McMullen. “They’re very helpful and you can save a lot of money. It’s kind of like treasure hunting, you never know what you’re going to find.”

RECON also does pickups if you can’t deliver the materials you’d like to donate yourself. Large volume pickups are available anywhere from East Vail to Eagle, or you can make an appointment to donate if you can’t make the regular Thursday to Saturday donation hours.


Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability


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