To address the waste and health problems associated with residential building materials, Go Green Home Supply's vision is to help homeowners start with better, more natural building materials and finishes.

The problem with today's "standard" building materials and finishes is that there is little emphasis in the residential construction market to produce products that are safe for humans or the environment.  It is cheaper for high-volume manufacturers to produce, and more profitable for major retailers to sell these types of non-natural materials rather than doing what's right for people's health or the environment.  Their allegiance to maximized profit results in these products often being plastic based or composed with toxic chemicals. 


"Standard" products like traditional plywood (or similar OSB products), cabinets, various laminated or vinyl flooring, carpets, etc. are all produced with harmful chemicals and glues (formaldehyde), which off-gas into a home's indoor air.  According to the EPA, people are spending about 90% of their time indoors.  In urban homes, the indoor air quality is often times worse than outdoor air.  This is cause for concern, because of the potential health impacts it poses.  Some of the reasons for this are environmental, while others are caused by the home's materials and finishes.  The materials themselves may give people skin irritations, respiratory problems, chronic headaches, cause cancer, or a variety of other problems.

On top of the health concerns, once these products are removed from the homes, either through a renovation change or demolition, the products typically end up as material waste.  Very, very rarely do residential building products get salvaged or recycled.  Even if the materials could be recycled (majority are non-recyclable), most (if not all) of those materials end up in landfills commingled with other waste.  The concern here is twofold.

One - we are generating volumes of waste that will eventually lead to a storage/space problem.  Where do we continue to put this type of material once the current landfills are full?  At what point do we exhaust reasonable available land area for development of landfills?  This is important because the shear volume of non-decomposable building material waste is so much larger than that of standard household waste.

Two - as these products sit in landfills, precipitation and environmental impacts start impacting the composition of these products.  Chemicals start to leach out of sun-affected materials.  Rains wash particles into runoff, which eventually end up contaminating the ground itself, but also any ground water or natural aquifer that might be nearby (known as leachate plum).  Not only are we compromising that area for future development/farming/etc., but there are also drinking water sanitation concerns.  How do we account for filtering out unplanned contaminants?  How much more expensive does water treatment become due to the problems created by harmful physical waste?  It's occasionally argued that landfills have liners that protect from such events.  In reality, many landfills do not have liners (a surprisingly high number), and those that do have landfill liner systems cannot be relied on - as they have high failure rates, which have been well documented.  The EPA concludes that all landfills will eventually fail, causing contamination  (source).

Essentially, the more non-natural, non-decomposable, non-recyclable materials we buy, the more we each contribute to the pollution of our planet and the potential degradation of our own health through direct exposure or indirect water contamination.  This may or may not affect you in your lifetime, but we can almost certainly say that the compounding effects will impact your family's and friends' future generations.  This is true for all consumer items, and is again especially true for building materials considering the volume of waste these products produce.


Building material waste is the second largest contributor to global waste - behind only single-use plastics.  


There are also other problems facing the current industry as it stands today.  Manufacturers, suppliers, and big-box retail hardware stores promote products in misleading ways - a term known as "greenwashing".  It paints a product as completely eco-friendly when in reality it's total impact may be harmful in many ways.  It's "spin-selling" at its worst.  A non-natural product being "greenwashed" might be advertised to suggest that it is more durable than something more natural, and therefore will last longer making it more economical.  It may be a plastic/vinyl product, that has the downside of never biodegrading.  Spray foam insulation is touted as an eco-friendly way to make your home more energy efficient, while in reality it's 100% polyurethane plastic (extremely toxic in liquid form and if burned).  One of its merits is that it is long lasting... it will never degrade, meaning it literally is permanent.  A home's vinyl flooring or spray foam insulation shouldn't be in the landfill for thousands of years after the home itself is gone.

There are many other similar products with these types of stories.  Without a change in the industry though, the general public will still remain mostly in the dark about the negatives that go along with the traditional products being widely used in the construction industry today.

There are ways to meet the types of durability and energy-efficiency goals that non-natural products are touted to provide while using natural and more eco-friendly materials.  It's about educating and giving people easy access to these options.  Through mass education that emphasizes that homeowners have alternative buying options for their DIY, renovation, or build projects, there is an opportunity to source better, more eco-friendly materials into all homes.

We at Go Green Home Supply will be the best source for educational content directly linked to the most eco-friendly building material products for purchase.  We want to change the way better materials go to market and get into the hands of homeowners, making it easy for them to make green choices with respect to building materials and finishes in their homes.


 Plan well.  Build well.  Be well.


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May 17, 2022 — David Lymburn