An estimated 170 million tons of building construction, renovation, and demolition-derived wastes ( commonly referred to as construction and demolition (C&D) materials) were generated in 2003.
Whether you are renovating your home, building a new home, and/or planning to conduct a full-scale demolition, you have several opportunities to reduce waste. This can be done in a variety of ways including, new home design and building techniques, better management of construction and demolition, and selection of salvaged and recycled content materials.
Better Management of Construction, Renovation, and Demolition Materials
Many of the waste materials generated from housing construction can be reused, refurbished, or recycled into usable products.
- Salvage useful materials - Instead of creating a pile of mixed materials when renovating or building your home, consider separating and salvaging useful materials, including lumber, fixtures, hardware, and appliances. One way to do this for an existing home is through deconstruction, the systematic and careful removal of materials from structures for reuse or recycling. Outlets are available in many areas to collect or purchase used and salvaged building materials, and some nonprofit organizations also accept used building materials.
You can find local building materials reuse stores on the web.
- Recycle - Many home components can be recycled where markets exist:
- Wood can be recycled into reclaimed or composite wood products such as furniture and plastic/wood-composite decks, as well as mulch and other products. (Note: wood from decks, roofing or other outdoor applications was likely treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA), a hazardous substance, and should be disposed, NOT reused, recycled or burned.)
- Asphalt, concrete, and rubble - These materials can be recycled into aggregate or new asphalt and concrete products.
- Metals, including steel, copper, and brass, are valuable commodities to recycle.
You can find C&D debris recyclers at http://www.wbdg.org/tools/cwm.php.
Reducing and recycling construction and demolition materials can reduce overall construction and disposal costs as well. Discuss salvage or recycling with your architect or contractor.
For more information on ways to better manage construction and demolition materials, go to: