CONSTRUCTION DEBRIS AND
DEMOLITION MATERIALS RECYCLING
During the construction, renovation, and demolition of homes,
commercial buildings, bridges, highways and other public works
projects, large quantities of waste material are created.
C&D materials may include wood, concrete, glass,
shingles, wallboard, metal, and paint.
Depending on the type of demolition, materials like tree
stumps and rocks may also be generated.
Recycling and reducing the amount of C&D materials conserve
natural resources, reduce landfill waste, lower expenses for new
building projects, create jobs, and limit water and air
pollution. Over 100
million tons of C&D waste can be generated within a year.
Concrete, asphalt, metal, and wood are the most commonly
recycled materials from construction and demolition.
Though many C&D companies choose the low cost of landfill
disposal, there are many uses for the recycled or reused
material from C&D sites.
These wastes can be crushed and then used as a road-base gravel
or as an aggregate in new asphalt or concrete.
Wood waste can potentially be reused or chipped and used
in mulch, compost, or animal bedding.
Chipped wood could also be used as a bulking agent or be
burnt and used as fuel.
Metal: Metal is the most
valued C&D material and highest recycling rate.
Steel is especially valued and can be recycled for use in
appliances, bridges, vehicles, desks, and other common items.
Asphalt shingles, which make up the majority of residential
roofs, can be recycled into a hot mix for paving or into new
Recycling C&D waste is only part of practicing responsible
construction and demolition management.
Deconstruction is an alternative method to demolition,
involving a more selective process for dismantling and removing
materials from a building.
Even when complete deconstruction is not feasible, selective
removal of recyclable materials from the building prior to
demolition would decrease the amount of waste produced.
Plumbing and electrical fixtures, wood flooring, doors,
windows, and various metals could be removed and used for new
The amount of time involved in deconstruction is often the
C&D companies should consider the market value of potential
recyclable materials when considering deconstruction
C&D WASTE MANAGEMENT
Builders can practice responsible waste management
proactively, in addition to recycling any produced C&D waste.
When choosing a
builder, inquire about their waste management practices.
Current builders can also consult other existing builders
about successful C&D waste practices.
quality materials to ensure the long-life of a structure.
talk with your architect about long-term goals for the
structure, in order to create an adaptable, long-lasting design.
Be willing to purchase salvaged or recycled materials for
various building or renovation projects.
project, make space for the storage of recyclable or reusable
remodeling, consider reusing old cabinets or other intact
structures in a different part of the house for additional
storage or organization.
items such as carpet, fixtures, doors, locks, and knobs to a
multi-residential unit or apartment complex. Landlords can often
use these for general repairs.
waste to a commingled center recycling. Instead of separating
and organizing materials onsite, workers simply gather the
material in one place and transport it to be separated
Other General Info - Construction and
Demolition Waste Recycling
- Much of the waste stream in the U.S. is made up of construction and
- Most C&D waste ends up in landfills, despite the fact that
a huge portion of these types of debris are reusable or recyclable
- C&D waste is made up of the materials used or created in
the process of construction, renovation or demolition of structures
( residential or commercial buildings, roads, bridges, etc)
-C&D debris is usually non-hazardous
- This type of waste is a serious issue in the United States
due to the volume of debris that ends up in solid waste landfills,
creating the potential for ground water contamination
- Every year less land becomes available for the disposal of
- Choosing to recycle C&D waste can help save natural
- The most common waste materials that are potentially
recyclable by construction companies and builders include wood, paint, carpet, plastic and
metal, among other items
contractors or construction companies can help in recycling
these types of items, using
any of the following three methods:
1) Mixed Material Collection (recyclable items are moved from the
demolition or construction site and sorted at the appropriate facility. They are then
sent to be processed and recycled.
2) Source Separation (items are separated into categories at the
job site and then send to processors to be recycled. These categories can include wood,
metal, plastic, etc)
Processing (items are processed at the job site and are
immediately prepared for reuse)
- The recycled materials that come from building and
demolition sites have many different uses, including reuse for
building, fuel sources, mulch, etc.
- Not only is C&D recycling highly beneficial for the
environment, but it can also help to save a
company money. This type of recycling
can decrease many costs during a specific job, such as disposal
materials costs, transportation costs, labor costs (since less
materials are being handled),
and the cost of needing new materials for landscaping.
Building Green from the Start
- Builders can do
more than make sure that the waste at their job sites is
recycled. They can ensure that each project is built to be green!
- Constructing as
well as operating any kind of building requires the use of
energy and materials. This leads to large amounts of waste
- How these
buildings are built can greatly affect the ecosystems on earth
in many ways
- More and more
builders are choosing to “build green” as the impact of new
construction takes its toll on
- Sustainable building means implementing more
resource-efficient ways of construction, renovation, operation and demolition
Green building can be
accomplished in many ways. Some examples include:
1) Building with materials that have a less negative
effect on the environment (recycled material, biodegradable material, durable material, non toxic
2) Reducing waste during construction, demolition or
3) Designing buildings that are healthy for the occupants
and use energy more efficiently