Good works, good business at the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse

NEMC’s grant helped ERW market its programs to moms and kids. “We want to help kids think about buildings and deconstruction and landfills,” says Executive Director Aina Gutierrez. Forty percent of what goes in landfills comes from demolition and construction, she says. “You can recycle most of a house. Reuse 20%. Throw out 5%.”


The facility is open to the public and welcomes about 2,000 customers a year to its 13,500 sq.ft. warehouse; its aisles are stacked with donated building materials such as banisters, doors, kitchen appliances, chandeliers, wood cabinets, and reclaimed lumber. ERW’s high-quality materials can be reused in a variety of ways – from home renovations to making art. “We promote reuse through education to the public on the value of repair and reuse vs. buying new.  We are also piloting classes that teach basic carpentry skills through making items out of reclaimed materials. We run a paid workforce training program that provides comprehensive on-the-job and classroom instruction in deconstruction. We recruit individuals with chronic barriers to employment whose lives would be changed with a living wage career in the building trades.”


Much of the inventory comes from ERW’s deconstruction work spanning the North Shore, with a high concentration in Highland Park, Glencoe and Wilmette. Its workforce-in-training is currently taking apart a 1890s farmhouse in Highland Park deemed structurally unsound. “We save these materials from landfills and sell them for below new retail prices to the community. We also offer deconstruction services to contractors and homeowners who want to save their building materials from landfills.”


Gutierrez hopes a second location in the future. “This community is incredibly important to us.” More information about ERW is at www.evanstonrebuildingwarehouse.org or by emailing decon@evanstonrebuildingwarehouse.org.

We recruit individuals with chronic barriers to employment whose lives would be changed with a living wage career in the building trades.” 

Aina Gutierrez, Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse



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