Responsible construction waste management has quickly become an essential ingredient to sustainable building. The end goal is ensuring that harmful materials aren’t being put back into the environment and that everything that can be reused is being put back into circulation. You’re looking to minimize waste where possible, ideally by precisely planning out how much raw material you need beforehand.
Construction Waste Management: Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse
These basic principles of construction waste management and sustainable building have even been put together into a helpful mnemonic by waste management experts. The three Rs: reduce, recycle, and reuse. That’s the name of the game when it comes to responsible construction waste management.
Construction waste itself is just what you might expect: anything from unused rebar to extra roofing shingles. A lot of this waste, though, can actually be responsible recycled, according to Waste Management.
What’s Fair Game?
Concrete, porcelain, tiles, lumber, most metals, rock, most insulation, some carpet, and rigid plastics can be put back into circulation and recycled. As with all recycling efforts, the end goal is retaining as much value as possible….and perhaps adding more value.
When you incorporate recycling efforts into your next building cleanup you’re definitely adding value and making your construction waste management more sustainable for the environment.
You’d be surprised how rocks and concrete can be recycled into road base whereas plastics and metals you might simply flick in the dumpster could be recycled into new consumer goods like plastic bottles and metal cans.
Earn LEED Certification
By recycling and reusing where possible you’ll able be able to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points towards your next project. And there’s a lot of construction and demolition waste in the United States: 170 million tons in a recent year.
LEED certification for construction waste management lets you show the community that you’re serious about reducing waste, recycling, and reusing…and it might even provide financial incentives.
As you can see from following this link the first three of nine credits that you can earn towards LEED certification deal with everything that’s been talked about above: Storage and collection of recyclables (first credit), construction waste management (second credit), and materials reuse (third credit).
The Environmental Protection Agency put together an extensive list of non-hazardous demolition and construction waste that should ideally be recycled or reused in some form as well.
Concrete and wood items obviously comprise a lot of the recyclable demolition waste but so does roofing, insulation, carpet, refrigerants, electrical conduit, and transformers.
Now, the important thing to bear in mind with construction waste is that 100% of uncontaminated packaging can be salvaged or recycled, so you’re going to score a lot of your LEED points here.
Paper, cardboard, boxes, plastic, and wood crates should all be recycled as long as they haven’t been contaminated. Even plastic sheet and film can be part of your construction waste management recycling plan.
LEED says that the purpose of recycling and reducing your construction waste is being more efficient with raw materials and diverting your construction and/or demolition waste from landfills and incinerators.
Construction Waste Management is a Team Effort
Increasingly, though, construction waste management is being seen as an all-hands-on-deck effort that summons governments (local and federal), businesses, and professional organizations to come together for the sake of sustainable building and the environment.
In many ways responsible construction waste management is a public health concern and can safeguard the environment.
Choosing recycled materials and minimizing packaging, reusing old windows and doors, and recycling non-hazardous materials is the way to go. For construction waste management, contact Junk King.