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Earth Friendly: Spruce up with Habitat ReStore

By By Marie Lester
May 3, 2012 at 12:03 a.m.

Marie Lester

Do you plan to do some sprucing up around your house? Tackling a remodeling project before the heat of summer sets in? Want to try a neat decorating idea you saw online?

Check out Pinterest if you haven't discovered it yet. Want to be out with the old and in with the new? Sounds like you need a trip to the Habitat ReStore at 1101 N. William St. in Victoria.

I walked into Habitat ReStore to interview Ruby Ruiz, director, for this column. While we were talking, I couldn't help but notice the cutest little red rocking chair (which is now one of my son's 3rd birthday presents).

Then, I saw a shabby-chic sideboard with a barn wood top, and oh, la, la fireplace tools for super cheap. Habitat ReStore is a great place to shop.

But I digress, this is supposed to be an environmental column, not a shopping column, right? But that's just it - shopping at Habitat ReStore is good for the environment and great for our communities.

Habitat ReStore accepts donations from businesses and individuals of anything related to building, remodeling, decorating or furnishing a house: examples include doors, nails, paint, windows, light fixtures, furniture, appliances, hardware, flooring and decorations.

Donated items also come in from overproduction or surplus - so you can count on finding products in bulk (like enough tiles for your whole bathroom, instead of just one or two leftover tiles). ReStore then sells these donated items in a retail store open to the public. Habitat ReStore's business model does three important things:

1. Reduces waste by reusing - Habitat ReStore keeps unused, leftover or unwanted items from going to a landfill (this is the "reuse" part of the three R's). The Victoria Habitat ReStore has kept 1.9 million tons of stuff from ending up in the Victoria landfill in the 13 years they have been open.

They also take donations of paint, solvents and other home products; these products that are sold for a good cause would otherwise end up as waste in someone's garage and eventually become household hazardous waste. Victoria has a great program that collects Household Hazardous Waste from city residents (At Your Door Pick-Up, 1-800-449-7587), but it is better to prevent waste to begin with.

2. Provides funding for housing - Proceeds from Victoria's ReStore go to Habitat for Humanity to build homes in Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca and Victoria counties. Habitat for Humanity is currently building houses in Victoria's Swan Crossing neighborhood using funds generated from sales.

They are also using products donated to the store in the homes. Every time you shop at ReStore, you are helping a family get one step closer to having a home.

3. Helps the economy - Habitat ReStore offers great prices on new or gently used products. Low prices on building materials means businesses can open their doors or remodel even when money is tight.

Habitat ReStore is always looking for volunteers at the store; just call Ruby at 361-570-4700 to sign up. Habitat ReStore is just one of the environmentally and community friendly places to shop in Victoria.

So, visit ReStore and shop guilt-free knowing you are being community conscious, protecting the environment and hardly touching your pocketbook.

Marie Lester, is the Environmental Programs Coordinator for the City of Victoria's Environmental Services Department. You may contact her with topic ideas, inspiration, questions and comments at cmlester@victoriatx.org.

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