Pilot Project Compares Home Deconstruction Vs. Demolition

What's saved from the deconstruction will be sold to the public this week.

DULUTH, Minn.- Houses that are no longer suitable to live in are typically demolished and taken to a landfill but one Minnesota project potentially has a more environmental solution.

Multiple sites are now being deconstructed rather than knocked down. The deconstruction of the tax-forfeited property at538 Rose Street is helping 85% of the materials stay out of a landfill. The project is put together by a partnership between the Miigwech Aki (Thank You Earth) deconstruction company, and Better Futures Minnesota, then funded through the Minnesota State Lottery. Their goal is to break down the amount of waste while creating meaningful wage jobs.

“To help folks learn about getting jobs, working, and improving their lives,” Deconstruction Manager, Miigwech Aki (Thank you Earth) Chris Bedeau said.

Better Futures Minnesota hires local individuals in need of a job and provides construction training.

Officials say upfront deconstruction is more expensive than demolition.

“It definitely is a longer process, that takes a little bit more time,” St. Louis County Planner Ryan Logan said.

But in the long run it’s a more viable option.

“We know that because of landfills there’s an increase health cost for those communities and those health costs are born by taxpayers,” Dr. Thomas Ryan said.

Deconstruction provides eight times more jobs than demolition. Meanwhile, workers are learning how to create the recycled materials into products such as benches. What’s saved from the deconstruction will be sold to the public this week.

“To take mother earth’s products like the wood, the stone, the concrete, and not put it into a landfill, but to reuse it,” Bedeau said. “Everything we got is from mother earth and we want to protect mother earth.”

Once the deconstruction process is complete the buildable site will be up for sale. This is one of four pilot projects going on in St. Louis County.

Recycled materials will be sold at 538 Rose Street, Morely Heights Neighborhood on June 1st and June 8th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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