[This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been revised and updated to reflect the most current information.]
All your construction debris doesn't have to go to a landfill. There are options for reusing old building materials that can benefit you and the environment.
It’s always a good practice to keep any material out of a landfill, if possible, and there are a number of other good reasons for construction waste recycling. For example, a wide variety of these waste materials can be effectively re-used and re-purposed.
As a contractor, have you ever wondered how much actual debris and waste is produced on your job sites? Or have you ever wondered how much of that material could actually be reused somewhere, somehow?
Recycling Provides Options for Construction Debris
The truth is, in a typical residential remodel, for example, almost 75 percent of the debris can be recycled or reused. This means that construction waste does not automatically have to go to the dump!
How much waste is typically produced on a construction project? The debris on an average C&D (Construction & Demolition) site is made up of the following:
- 6 % Residential construction
- 3% Non-residential construction
- 11% Residential demolition
- 39% Non-residential demolition
- 22% Residential renovation
- 19% Non-residential renovation
Almost 40 percent of the overall C&D waste generated in the U.S. comes from non-residential, or commercial, demolition. This is probably not a surprise to contractors. What might be surprising, however, is that 22 percent of debris comes from the smaller residential renovations. This is particularly significant in light of the fact that a great deal of construction waste and debris can be recycled.
Construction Debris Recycling Pays
There is a viable market for much of the waste and debris that gets generated at a typical job site. In fact, 75 percent of the "waste"often disposed of into landfills can be recycled. And this pays dividends in a number of ways:
- It’s projected that 28,000 US jobs will be a direct result of construction waste recycling.
- Recycling 538 million tons of construction waste saves 4,300 acres of landfill space.
- A 2016 report by the EPA showed that recycling C&D materials created 230,000 jobs.
Imagine being able to eliminate up to 75 percent of the solid waste from construction firms out from the landfills. Although recycling requires some advance planning, the benefits - both immediate and long term - are well worth it.
Much of what is removed from a construction site can be reused. And, by engaging in planned deconstruction, a significant amount of recyclable material can usually be recovered.
Three main reasons why contractors should consider construction waste recycling as opposed to simple disposal:
- Reduced costs of removing and hauling
- Elimination of high landfill fees
- Contributes to the production of lower-cost recycled aggregate products
There are additional benefits to recycling materials rather than dumping them or burying them in a landfill, as well.
Waste concrete is a great example. Concrete accounted for 23.1 million tons of waste during construction and a total of 358.7 million tons of demolition debris in 2015. Yet much of it can be recycled and reused.
The benefits of recycling concrete include:
- Keeping concrete debris out of landfills saves landfill space
- Using recycled material as gravel reduces the need for gravel mining
- Using recycled concrete as the base material for roadways reduces the pollution involved in trucking material
The bottom line here is that you can recycle most common C&D materials including concrete, porcelain, rigid plastics, tile, lumber, metals, masonry, plastic, rock, carpet, insulation and more. What can actually be recycled at your local facilities may vary depending on location.
Deconstruction as a Recycling Opportunity
Deconstruction usually refers to carefully dismantling pieces of a home or building, as opposed to simple demolition. Deconstruction is typically done in order to salvage valuable building materials.
According to the EPA,
"569 million tons of C&D debris were generated in the United States in 2017, which is more than twice the amount of generated municipal solid waste. Demolition represents more than 90 percent of total C&D debris generation, while construction represents less than 10 percent."
That means that over 510 million tons of debris was generated just from demolition. Building debris accounts for one-third of the solid waste in the United States.
And much of that material could have been recycled or reused.
In fact, one year’s amount of building debris generated in the U.S. could make a wall 30 feet high and 30 feet thick around the entire coast of the continental United States. This is why keeping much of this reusable building material out of landfills can make such a significant impact.
And, when deconstructed materials are recycled and reused, the need for raw materials to make new building products is decreased.
Common items that can be recovered during deconstruction include doors, windows, flooring, ceiling tile, counter tops, cabinets, light and plumbing fixtures, molding, joint fixtures, roofing, blinds and shades.
In addition to being great for the environment, deconstruction can also mean cash in your pocket since many of the materials you donate can translate into a tax write-off.
However, getting it off-site and hauled away is still potentially costly and time-consuming if you choose to do it yourself.
Expert Help for Your Construction Debris Recycling
Part of the beauty of outsourcing the pick up and disposing of your construction waste is the convenience. But, just as important, is the very real impact that having your debris recycled and reused.
Junk King provides an efficient, safe and eco-friendly construction waste disposal service so you don’t need to worry about the pick up or disposal of the debris after your project is complete.
Whether you need our services several times during a construction project or just once after it is complete, our hauling professionals will ensure that the construction debris is out of your way so that you can get on with the job.
Our team specializes in construction debris removal. We can be at your job site in mere minutes, so call us today! Our crew is fully insured and well-trained, so you can trust them to get rid of your debris in a professional manner.
One of the best things about hiring Junk King is that we do recycle much of the material we pick-up. This is proof of our commitment to being an eco-friendly removal service.
If you have questions about what we do, give us a call at 1-888-888-JUNK (5865)