It’s an oft-used adage in the construction industry that, when it comes to building materials, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. For this reason, contractors and do-it-yourself types alike often buy materials for a job with an eye on getting slightly more than just enough. It’s a serious pain when you have to hold off on painting that last coat to go buy one more can of paint, or worse, hope your grout doesn’t dry up while you go get another case of tile. Even if you’re a pro and really good at estimating, chances are you’ll still have some building materials left over at the end of a job. That little bit can do a lot of good if you donate it.
It’s Good for the People
Places that accept donated building materials usually turn around and sell it at discounted prices, or incorporate it into a construction project for someone in need. Either way, it’s going to help a fellow human being. Construction costs can add up quickly, and not everyone can afford to buy off the showroom floor. By donating new or gently used goods from your job site, you help reduce those costs and hopefully make someone’s much-needed home repair affordable.
It’s Good for the Planet
Did you know that new housing construction alone accounts for a third of all commercial timber sales in the United States? That doesn’t even include remodels or additions. Trees may grow back, but not nearly as fast as we’re cutting them down. Giving usable wood to a donation center helps reduce that demand. It’s not just trees; drywall uses gypsum, latex paint relies on petroleum, and copper piping is made of copper. These natural resources are not unlimited, and donations help conserve what we have so that future generations can keep building. Every foot, cubic yard, and gallon you donate is one that doesn’t have to be produced new.
It’s Good for You
It’s not an act of pure altruism to donate building materials; there’s also a benefit in it for the donor. A donation to a registered tax-exempt 501(c)3 likely qualifies the donor for a tax deduction. Getting rid of extra job supplies can be like throwing money away. It’s important to value the donation properly. As the filer, it is your responsibility to make sure that the information is recorded correctly with the Internal Revenue Service, but it’s a small effort that could save you some big bucks.
Donating building materials is a win-win! After you complete your next project, find a local donation center in your area and give them whatever’s leftover. You’ll help yourself, and do some good for the world and the people in it.