Ever spotted a construction residue container filled with materials in (very) good
condition? Bathtubs, sink basins, cabinets, and even wood flooring are
commonly found in containers around town. Simply throwing these materials
away because they don’t match the current owner’s taste has always seemed
illogical to me. Fortunately, in recent years, more and more companies have been committing to salvaging those materials. As a result, organized selling
points of second-hand building materials have been popping around the country,
proving that there is a growing market for such products. So let’s go to the facts and store tips for how to make your next reno project more sustainable.
Growing demand, growing supply
If you’re renovating and looking for used materials, look beyond Marktplaats. It has been, for a long time, consumers’ go-to place for used building materials, despite usually offering a limited product range that includes garden stones, sand, and doors. While those items are
sometimes available for free, it can be difficult to find the sizes and quantities you
need. Another challenge brought by the platform is that it is not always easy to get your hands on high-quality products. Sometimes, you may end up with non-functioning items and no repair or guarantee service.
I’d say the biggest advantage of Marktplaats is that it keeps things locally due to the possibility of finding materials in your neighborhood. But despite the pros and cons, the truth is that Marktplaats is now only one of the many options you have, due to consumers’ growing interest in used products and a focus on circularity in the construction sector. Those changes bring you not only diversity in product range but also many more options regarding quantity, pricing, and quality guarantee.
Stores and selling points
Here are a few good options in the Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Eindhoven areas, two of which provide online sales.
In 2018, the Circularity organization Insert started the Insert Marktplaats together
with demolition companies from around the Netherlands. On the platform, you
can search for and find a wide range of construction materials, and filter results
according to location and date of availability, for example. The description of
items includes the source of the material and whether it is a fixed price or if you
can negotiate with the seller. It is just as handy as Marktplaats, but with many
Located in the city of Utrecht, Buurman opened its doors in 2019 as a workshop
space with a store selling mainly wood, isolation material, plywood plates, and
electricity cables. At the moment, the store also has in stock materials like paint,
doors, windows, roofing materials, and mirror plates. Prices are very affordable,
and you can also take one of their courses to improve your DIY skills.
Jan van IJken and Walstra Oude Bouwmaterialen
In addition to stores specializing in used materials, there are also stores selling
high-quality old construction materials. This is similar to shopping for antiques,
but in this case to buy doors, windows, tiles, bricks, wood, and even natural
stones and metal materials such as circular stairs.
Near Hilversum, in Noord Holland, the store Jan van IJken is the perfect haven
for creative DIY’ers who can give old, beautiful materials a new life. So is
Walstra, a store located in Bolsward, one hour outside of Amsterdam. Even
though you need to visit both stores in person, the product range and quality
make up for the extra time invested.
You may be surprised, but there is a really large used materials store in the
Netherlands! GBM (Gebruikte Bouwmaterialen) is a subsidiary of demolition
companies in the Eindhoven area. They specialize in sustainable collection and
high-quality reuse of materials, and re-sell their products online, directly to
consumers. On their website, you can check out the product range and the
services included. Believe me, there is a lot of options to choose from. It may
also be helpful to know that the sustainable restaurant The Green House in
Utrecht is one of the famous clients from GMB.
As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” So green up
your life and build with used materials!