Reduction in Landfill Waste: How to Help Yourself 2024

Linda Eales was raised in the construction industry, she observed discarded construction materials being sent to landfills year after year. 

Nonprofit Corporation: Harvest Eco-Salvage

Linda Eales established Harvest Eco-Salvage with the mission of keeping usable and recyclable building materials out of landfills. 

She couldn’t stand it anymore. In 1999, she started Eco-Logic Foundation with a simple goal, to keep usable and recyclable building materials out of the landfills. 

In 2023 her Scottsdale-based organization, now a 501c3 nonprofit corporation known as Harvest Eco-Salvage Corp., diverted over 110 million pounds of salvageable, recyclable materials from landfills and assisted property owners in securing more than $24 million in tax deductions. 

“A 2,000-square-foot home contains 1.5 million pounds of material,” she said. “Waste is inefficient and costly.” 

J. Andrew Turley, president of luxury home appraisal firm Phoenix Valuations, conducts real estate appraisals of the properties on behalf of Harvest Eco-Salvage Corp. 

“The program is exceptional for the environmental and conserving resources, Turley said. Additionally, the tax credit provides homeowners extra perks for using the program.” 

The tax deduction appraisal process is quite technical. Essentially, it involves first determining the scope of the donation and repurposing of the improvements. Then, the value of the house and land is assessed, along with the replacement costs of existing improvements, accounting for depreciation. 

“Once we understand all of these components, we can accurately determine the depreciated in-place value of the improvements being donated and repurposed,” Turley explained Between 80 to 95% of the house projects are being repurposed. This includes concrete, seam metal roof, appliances, doors, windows, light fixtures, block fencing, asphalt paving, HVAC units, and more, all being redirected back into our communities through designated and verified recycling centers. It’s quite remarkable.” 

Potential for Six-figure tax deduction

Turley also collaborates with Devin Schulte, who departed from Harvest Eco-Salvage to establish his own nonprofit in July 2023. Although each project is different, Schulte mentioned that it’s not unusual for a homeowner to receive a six-figure tax deduction. 

Schulte’s organization, Repurposed Environmental Solutions, primarily focuses on homes in the Paradise Valley, Arcadia and Scottsdale areas. However, he is starting to expand in growth markets across the country. 

Devin Schulte, executive director of Repurposed Environmental Solutions. 

“We completed a project in Tucson and we are also operating in California,” Schulte said. Right now, we’re getting registered in Oregon and Washington, North Carolina and Georgia.” 

Although Schulte primarily focuses on single-family homes, he recently completed his first apartment community in May. 

“We donated 19 complete one-bedroom units, including kitchens, bathroom appliances, doors, windows,” he said. “Stardust Building Materials in Mesa receive all 19 units, which will be reintegrated into the community.” 

Eales is also expanding her operations nationwide. 

“We started in California six years ago and opened another place in northern California last year,” she said. “This month we will be opening in Austin, Texas, and in Denver within the next two or three months.” 

Harvest Eco-Salvage also undertakes commercial projects, including restaurants and warehouses. With a staff of two employees, Harvest Eco-Salvage employs subcontractors to manage the demolition and salvage work. 

Just like that, Repurposed Environmental Solutions has three employees and hires contractors for the deconstruction work, Schulte said. 

“We recycle approximately 85 to 90% of the structures when we complete our work,” Schulte said. “It’s a win-win situation. We recycle reusable building materials and homeowners receive a tax deduction for donating those items.” 

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