Stardust a landfill alternative — recycled building supplies

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer

Photo by Darrell Jackson
Pictured is the interior of the Glendale location where Stardust Building Supplies offers a large assortment for sale to the public.

After 20 years in business and working to save the environment, Stardust Building Supplies continues to make a difference while helping people with remodeling projects.
Founded in 1997 when Jerry Bisgrove and his wife began a remodeling project at his home with a friend, they were surprised to discover the usable material from the house was gone, including cabinets, plumbing fixtures, lighting, electrical supplies and flooring. When they asked what had been done with everything, the friend said she used some of the materials to remodel her own home, sold items to friends and relatives, and gave materials to those in need.
“Stardust owners (Bisgrove and his wife) realized then that the large items such as cabinets and such could be reused,” Stardust Marketing and Communication Specialist Kate Fulton said. “They also realized then that they could also help keep these large items out of the landfills.”
The Glendale store, 5150 W. Northern Ave., is approximately 25,000 square feet in size and has been open almost four years. It is the company’s second location to go along with a 44,000-square-foot main store in Phoenix.
“This location (Glendale) has been open nearly four years and we have a lot of items here, including things such as cabinets, windows, doors, toilets, sinks, tile flooring and anything that can be salvaged from remodeling jobs,” Fulton said.
They take donations at each store, as well as offer a deconstruction team that will go into homes and help people with their remodel jobs. The free deconstruction service is a green alternative to conventional demolition.
Their skilled deconstruction teams carefully dismantle and remove building materials, appliances, fixtures and architectural elements from the interior and/or exterior of residential and commercial buildings for reuse — at little to no cost.
“Our deconstruction service is free and we have a list of questions that we ask to determine if the job is something we can do,” Fulton said. “Due to Environmental Protection Agency rules, we cannot do houses that were built before 1978 due to rules about asbestos and lead paint. A job supervisor will also do site searches to make sure the job is something we can do.”
Deconstruction jobs usually take between three and four hours, depending on the size and scope of the remodel, and all items donated are tax deductible.
“It is free except for tile counter tops, which there is a charge for that, as well as tile floors,” Fulton said.
One of the main reasons Stardust was started was to help keep large items from local landfills. In a 2014 EPA study, it was shown that more than 540 million tons of demolition and construction debris was going into landfills and that accounts for nearly 25 percent of all solid waste into landfills.
“The sustainability aspect of Stardust is just amazing because of what people will throw away because they feel it is easier to get a dumpster and just throw it away,” Fulton said. “One of the main reasons for the deconstruction teams is to keep these items from landfills.”
Over the years, Fulton said they have diverted nearly 5 million pounds of reusable building materials from landfills and they have provided more than 3,000 people a month with affordable, reclaimed building supplies.
“The best way to describe us is we are like Goodwill for building supplies,” Fulton said. “We get trucks of items Monday through Friday and we get new items every day. You can check out social media accounts to see what we have gotten, you just cannot buy online and you have to come into our store.”
Fulton said they get a lot of new items that include windows, doors and other materials that were incorrectly ordered and could not be used.
“An example is we just got about 150 glass barn doors in that were off by 2 inches and they could not be used,” Fulton said. “They are brand new and we got them from a company that donated them and we are reselling them.”
She said their top sellers are cabinets and doors, but they also sell recycled paint that comes from a company and are unopened cans that they sell to the public, with Fulton adding they want to make sure the public understands what they are about.
“The biggest message we want to get across to people is that they understand these items can be donated and resold,” Fulton said. “We want them to know how much they can save from landfills by using our service and donating their items.”
Fulton said another program they have is called Gifts In Kind program, which provides more than 360 nonprofit organizations with essential items, including toiletries, housewares, and building supplies to help serve the community.
“We partner with local retailers to collect overstocked, returned or slightly damaged inventory that would otherwise be thrown away,” Fulton said. “Then we redistribute those items to nonprofit organizations that can use those donated items for clients or operational needs.”
She said since 2012, the Gifts In Kind program has distributed more than $22.4 million worth of items to 360 Maricopa County nonprofit organizations.
To be eligible for the program, a nonprofit must show its 501(c)(3) letter and serve individuals in Maricopa County. Nonprofit organizations are then able to go to the Gifts In Kind distribution center located at the Glendale store once per month to select items they need — those items can be for organization use or client use.
“One of our main issues with everything is that we are tight on space, but we get donations from a lot of major companies, such as Target and Walmart, with the items that we distribute to all our nonprofit partners,” Fulton said. “The items are slightly damaged, returned or out of season and they donate them to us and we use them for Gifts In Kind.”
Stardust partners with Valley of the Sun United Way in the Gifts In Kind donation program, bringing resources valued in the millions to the local community.
Fulton said Stardust is hoping to help grow large recycling programs, including the expansion of the deconstruction program.
“I would like to see more people donating as opposed to just throwing things away, and we are seeing huge demand for deconstruction,” Fulton said. “There is about a month out wait, but we need those jobs to help increase our capacity. We are a nonprofit with about 30 employees and we will continue to help keep large items from our landfills.”
For more information on Stardust, go to www.stardustbuilding.org.

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The Glendale Star
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Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
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Peoria Times
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