If your home renovation goals this year include installation of replacement, high-efficiency windows, you can make a change for the better in more than one way. You will enjoy energy efficiency and lower heating/air-conditioning bills, while reducing your home’s environmental footprint.
Are you wondering if you can also make an equally responsible decision regarding the disposal of your old windows? Let’s look over your options. But, first, a word of caution:
- If your old windows were installed before the late 1970s, your frames may have layers of lead-based paint treatment. The use of lead-based paint was eventually restricted in Canada, but disposal of exterior home components treated with older lead-based paint products requires an assessment by hazardous waste disposal professionals.
Assuming that hazardous wastes are not an issue for your old windows, here are some environmentally and socially conscious ideas you might consider:
- Building material reuse by non-profit construction programmes – for example, Habitat for Humanity’s Restore – may accept old windows for repurposing or resale through their local used goods’ store.
- Seek out local manufacturers who may take your windows and incorporate the glass in new-product manufacturing (specialty cement, fiberglass, road paint, flooring, countertops, landscaping).
- Inquire at your local post-secondary school to see if they have artistic uses for old window frames and/or glass.
- Upcycle your glass panes into a creative home decoration project or find a local craftsperson who specializes in upcycled home décor and who might appreciate donated materials.
- Build a cold-frame greenhouse for your garden or gift your windows to a local horticulturalist or school greenhouse program.