Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 3.11.2010


Nesting Green Home & Garden Special Issue

Permaculturing South Lane Fern Hill Nursery offers large collection

How Do I Get Myself Some Birds? Birders, in their own backyards

Downsize to a Greener Lifestyle Kurt Jensen’s little houses for better living

Seed, Save, Share A revolutionary act against commercial seed industry

Green and Cheap BRING offers remodel options that go easy on the budget

2009 Spring Planting Guide


Green and Cheap
BRING offers remodel options that go easy on the budget
By Natalie Miller

If your house is in need of a few repairs or you want to remodel on a budget, consider the first step in the green wheel: Reuse. Spare your bank account and lower your carbon footprint by opting to shop at BRING Recycling for your next home project.

With seemingly never-ending rows of recycled doors, sinks, light fixtures and almost everything else needed to build a house — except the permit — BRING Recycling is a dreamland of potential projects. All one needs is a little creativity and the patience to rummage through piles of materials. But there’s no need to worry about getting dirty, because shopping at BRING is no Dumpster dive. 

BRING Recycling
Robert Bolman

BRING’s director, Julie Daniel, says their employees and volunteers put forth an enormous effort to maintain an organized warehouse. And with items delivered daily from contractors, tile stores and homeowners, BRING’s inventory is always fresh. But due to the constantly changing inventory, Michele Piastro, BRING’s volunteer coordinator and professional remodeler and house-flipper, says that if you’re looking for something specific, you may have to visit BRING daily. 

The reasons people choose recycled products over new are endless, says Daniel. For some the motivation is a tight budget, for others it’s environmental. Along with saving money, using recycled materials is one of the most effective ways people can reduce their impact on the environment, Daniel says. “By using materials that already exist, we’re able to preserve the energy that would have otherwise been generated in production.” 

In addition to the overstocked warehouse of goods, BRING further demonstrates its goal to care for the environment in the structure of its recently built administrative building in Glenwood. Aside from a few minor features, such as emergency lights required in order to meet code, the building is made of entirely recycled materials, including the lighting elements which were once used in Café Yumm’s original location. 

Another community member who has demonstrated the use of recycled materials in construction is Robert Bolman, a contractor who, because of his work with used materials, calls himself “environmentally innovative.” For more than 15 years, Bolman has been building houses, using recycled lumber, plumbing fixtures and salvaged ceramic tiles. And although he primarily uses recycled material, Bolman says it’s difficult to construct a building using entirely recycled materials because of the uncertainty of finding what you need. “It’s a process of picking and choosing,” Bolman says. In addition to scavenging for materials at BRING, Bolman says he looks for supplies in Dumpsters and at excavation sites. Another element of following better building practices and building more sustainably, Bolman says, is creating structures that are attractive so that “people will love the buildings and take care of them, so they will last more than 100 years.”

If you have the time and an imaginative mind, fascinating designs and structures can result from using recycled materials. Take for instance Eugene’s newest doughnut shop, Holy Donuts! After owner Karen Nunley realized she wanted to open a doughnut shop, she began collecting items for the soon-to-be business. Two years later, Nunley had collected all the items she needed ­ only choosing new when used wasn’t an option. Holy Donuts! is now an eclectic assortment of retro mugs, citrus-patterned chandeliers and 70s style artwork and mirrors. When asked what items were bought recycled, Nunley responds, “The question should be, ‘What isn’t recycled?’” Nearly everything in the little shop was purchased at BRING and various thrift shops, Goodwills and garage sales around Oregon.

When buying used materials, Nunley says you have to be creative and prepared to modify what you find. “You might buy something that’s just perfect,” Nunley says, “but usually you have to be willing to look at it as a starting point, as components of something bigger.” By using recycled materials, Nunley was able to achieve the design she wanted — décor from the 50s and 70s. Similarly, in her remodel projects, Piastro can construct whatever ideas comes to her, build a home unlike any other and create a house filled with stories simply by using recycled. 

So no matter what reason you have to use recycled materials for your next home project (or simply want to donate materials), visit BRING Recycling. You never know what you’ll find. It might just be that one item you’ve been searching for. Or maybe some peculiar piece will catch your attention and you’ll begin a new project.

Located at 4446 Franklin Blvd., BRING Recycling sits one block from the EmX bus line or a quick drive from downtown. Contact BRING at 541-746-3023