A variety of materials in the construction debris disposal stream can be recycled. But few of them can be quickly made into new products. That's not the case for wood debris.
The construction and demolition (C&D) waste industry is growing and continually developing, yet too many contractors still aren't making full use of it's potential.
The good news is that an increasing number of facilities and vendors are taking debris from construction and recycling much of this material. It is good for the planet, but it is also good for the industry.
Recycling Construction Debris Makes a Difference
According to the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) approximately 480 million tons of C&D waste was produced in the U.S. in 2012. The largest portion of this material was bulk aggregate, which was mostly concrete, and added up to 310 million tons. This was in addition to about 70 million tons of reclaimed asphalt pavement, or RAP.
The same organization estimated that over 70% of this debris, or about 260 million tons, was recovered and put to use by the C&D recycling industry. As a result, this freed up over 4,300 acres of landfill at a waste depth of 50 feet!
In addition to saving landfill space, recycling construction debris also saves energy. Recycling this waste saved the U.S. over 85 million barrels of oil in just one year.
Small Scale and Residential Construction Can Recycle Profitably
After concrete and related aggregate, wood waste is the second largest component of construction and demolition debris. It is estimate to make up anywhere between 20 to 30 percent of the building-related waste produced each year. And wood waste makes up almost10 percent of the construction waste material going into landfills every year.
However, wood and wood products have quite a substantial usability lifespan which increases their potential for reuse. In fact, according to one study, wood products such as lumber and plywood has an average lifespan of about 75 years, while materials such as wood panel products and veneers average about 25 years. This is great for recycling and reuse purposes, but no so great for the landfills.
The options for recycling and reusing waste wood products are numerous for contractors.
New Life for Old Wood
One company in Sonoma County, California, has created a legacy of giving new life to old wood products. Heritage Salvage in Petaluma makes beautiful products from waste wood. According to their website:
"Recycled building materials, used lumber and old wood from Heritage Salvage have gone into over 100 restaurants, breweries, wineries and countless homes and commercial buildings around the San Francisco Bay Area."
In addition, Distinguished Boards + Beams in Carbondale, Colorado serves as a major source of reclaimed lumber. While specializing in barn wood reclamation, their products find use in a wide variety of projects. On the company website they note that:
"Our scope of work ranges from providing barn siding, timbers, and flooring for large retail stores, such as a number of Whole Foods Market stores, to restoring 200 year-old reclaimed hand hewn cabins and barns. We have worked closely with leading architects and contractors on projects incorporating the full spectrum of heritage reclaimed wood materials."
The possibilities for contractors making use of wood debris from their own construction projects are almost endless. A growing and diversifying market for reclaimed wood products means the potential for offsetting project costs, as well.
Even as a professional contractor, you might still find it challenging to get rid of the debris left over after your project is complete. Whether you are doing demolition, remodeling, or construction, there is always the time sensitive and costly process of getting rid of leftover debris. Knowing that you have the option of recycling, reuse and re-purposing is a big advantage.
In addition, recycling and re-purposing as many items and materials as possible is simply a more environmentally responsible approach for a business to take.
A Green Team for Your Construction Debris Disposal
Trash hauling and site clean-up is usually considered to be “part of the job” for contractors, bit it really doesn’t have to! When you consider that every hour your crew spends picking up debris, cleaning the site, and hauling and disposing of the material, is an hour NOT spent generating revenue on a project. And the bigger the job, the more the opportunity costs add up.
Add to that the possible costs of hazardous material disposal and even required training for your employees, the benefits of outsourcing these tasks become more attractive.
There is more to proper construction debris disposal than simply throwing stuff into the back of a truck. Knowing what can be disposed of legally and where constitutes a large part of what makes a professional firm the better choice. And, as already noted, simply taking everything to the local landfill – assuming there is one – is not always the most cost-effective means of disposal.
Do you have a current or upcoming project that will need construction trash clean-up and removal? If so, call Junk King! Our team specializes in construction trash removal. We can be at your facility 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 unwanted items in a professional and courteous fashion.
And one of the best things about hiring Junk King is that we recycle a 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 or what we believe, give us a call at (707) 744-4254.