One Man Gathers What Another One Spills
Building a home creates an enormous amount of waste. According to the EPA, home construction, remodeling and demolition projects are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the nation’s annual municipal solid waste. Much of that waste, if one were so inclined, could be used to make other homes. Well there is one who is so inclined–and his name is Brad Kittel.
Kittel runs a company called Tiny Texas Houses, whose tagline is “Building the future with the past.” For the last six years, they’ve been making tiny houses made almost completely out of salvaged and scrap materials. Windows, framing, floorboards, sinks, tubs–everything less nails and electric equipment–has been used somewhere before.
For the moment, Tiny Texas Houses is mostly a Texas phenomenon. They have a 200K sq ft warehouse where they store materials. You can purchase a complete Texas Tiny House starting at $35K (they deliver to Texas and its neighboring states Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico). As a service, they offer “salvage mining” whereby they either remove your old structure for free, or for a fee they will consult you about what’s usable from your old building (available in person and online). Unlike Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, they do not sell plans as available salvaged materials affect the layout of the homes. They run occasional workshops however.
Beyond a mere money and energy saving ploy, Kittel and Tiny Texas Houses are trying to start a movement they call Pure Salvage Living. It is about living off the grid–using a barter economy, avoiding taxes and living a simpler, smaller, more efficient, highly local life.
As he explains in the above video, all the stuff we need is already in existence. We don’t need to extract more natural resources or buy anything new or import anything from China to build our future. We can use existing (or salvaged) resources. Whether we do or not is our choice, he contends.
What do you think about Kittel’s contention? Can we–or is it realistic–to create a future made of salvaged material? Why or why not?