How to salvage things. Take a survey of your local businesses and recycling center and see what they toss out. If in doubt on any item then ask the owner. Here is a list of common materials that are tossed. Worn or broken hardwood pallets, one gallon wide mouth glass jars, electrical wire, styrofoam, plant propagation containers, pots with potting soil still in them, furniture and wood, bed frames with steel beams, raw metal of all kinds. shelving, tables, chairs, clothing, futons with good cloth, file cabinets, food containers, large steel electrical boxes with door lids, vacuum cleaners, stationary, envelopes, books, ropes, plate glass, sheet rock, nuts, bolts, nails, conduit, plastic tarps. Tools and wood and metal working machines, circuit breakers, motors, fans, pumps, food processing equipment, bedding, purses, leather, elastomeric foam, plywood lumber, joist hangars.
Save on your energy costs, by using discarded free materials.
Pictured above. A styrofoam window block to help save on your heating or cooling bill. Put the block in to the window at night if it is cold. If it is a hot day put the block in to keep warming sun and infared heat out. Styrofoam is generally not recyclable due to the low value per volume and so busineses toss it out and people dump it into recyeling centers. So it is an unwanted material and can be got for free. It is easily cut with a band saw, hack saw blade, and some wood saws. Salvage large blocky chunks and cut it into boards and then use the boards for insulation. A mixture of fine sawdust, wheat glue or Elmers glue can bond it and fill gaps. Insulation materials like slabs of styrofoam can cost enough to take some years to cost amortize. Meanwhile lots of styrofoam gets tossed away from business and at recycling centers where they cannot recycle it in most cases or into dumpsters.
Styrofoam cuts easily with a hand, or band saw. To make window blocks to insulate windows for a night, just cut the foam into boards, glue them together and trim to fit and install.