Wood and Lumber
Contractors build roughly 1 million new single-family homes each year in the United States at a cost of nearly $100 billion [source: Falk]. That amount balloons to nearly $200 billion when you take into account construction of multi-family and manufactured homes, as well as the repair and renovation of existing homes [source: Falk]. Most of that money is spent on wood used for framing, sheathing, doors, floors and windows, and much of that wood comes from virgin timber [source: Falk].
The U.S. government estimates nearly 1 billion board-feet in lumber can be salvaged each year [source: U.S. Department of Agriculture]. Much of that wood is high quality and includes large timber frames. If builders recycled or reused all the wood in a 2,000-square-foot home, it would generate up to 6,000 board-feet in reusable lumber, saving 33 trees. In addition, recycling would reduce the volume of wood taking up landfill space by at least 8,420 cubic feet (238 cubic meters) [source: Deconstruction Institute].
Workers can reuse wood in a variety of ways. By re-milling old lumber and timber, contractors can build new floors, paneling, doors and windows. Builders can also reuse wood to construct new barns and fences. That's not all. Machines can easily grind waste wood so that it can later be turned into particleboard.