Public Architecture, the firm behind Scrap House, just published a free primer on the topic of material reuse. The Design for Reuse Primer, funded by the USGBC, includes 15 case studies of all sorts of projects — civic, education, residential, office, retail, interpretive, religious — calculated to show that "material reuse represents one of most creative, exciting, and effective approaches to building green."
The Primer starts off by distinguishing "recycling" from "reuse." Both involve the removal of material from the waste stream, while the former also includes significant processing and conversion of the material into something new. The latter does not.
With reuse, there's an opportunity to avoid the environmental impact associated with raw material consumption, landfill waste, and energy use (through manufacturing and transportation).
Public Architecture explains that they found several common lessons in examining various projects: be strategic with contracts, factor in time, get team buy in, think reuse from the start, test it out, share the story, etc.
The most common reuse material is wood, though other materials include brick and metal, as well as more exotic materials, such as airplane flaps, granite slabs, HVAC units, and marble toilet partitions. You owe it to yourself to download a copy and read how teams have used reclaimed materials in innovative ways.