Around one-third of refuse in a country like the US is made up of construction waste. This is a massive percentage, and it shows just how important it is to properly handle recycling construction waste at a building site.
Every single site will generate a fair amount of refuse, and it is important to take the correct steps to deal with this. Through using smart, resourceful, and environmentally friendly building practices, you can dramatically decrease the amount of waste left over. It only takes small steps to make a big impact.
Here are five simple ways to help recycle and reuse waste at building sites – resulting in a more sustainable method of construction.
How To Recycle Construction Waste
1. Integrate Construction Waste Back Into The New Building
Making the most out of what you have at hand is one of the most efficient ways to reduce waste. When building, it is important to gather all the waste that you generate, and figure out how you can reincorporate this back into the building.
This can be done by using materials that were salvaged during the deconstruction process, or by using extra materials and off-cuts in the building. Often, during renovation or remodeling jobs, not all elements of the site are demolished. Reusing or updating existing structures is a great way to reduce waste.
Before sending off any materials to the recycling plant, try to see if you can use them right where you are. Not only is this more eco-friendly, but it will end up saving you money on materials.
2. Deconstruction Over Demolition
This relates to what was mentioned above. When preparing a new site for construction, try not to jump straight to demolition as this will just destroy or damage all the materials on the site. Often, a great deal of this stuff can be reused and incorporated back into the new building.
There are organizations out there that specialize in removing reusable items from demolition sites to reuse in social housing projects. This is a great way to give back and to cut down your environmental footprint.
You can salvage doors, windows, pipes, radiators, grates, fittings, and just about anything else left in a good condition. This step is one of the easiest ways to instantly start recycling construction waste.
3. Build Using Recyclable Materials
This may seem like an obvious one, but it is something that is often overlooked. If you aren’t re-using products, at least source materials that are completely recyclable. This includes the packaging that building products come in – as this also amounts to a great deal of waste.
From the leftovers, whatever can’t be reused (such as offcuts, packaging, or breakages) can then be recycled. Gathering recyclable materials on-site and sending them straight to the nearest recycling plant is a necessary step in construction.
Here is a list of some of the most common recyclable building materials and what they can be used for:
- Metals – can be melted down and turned into new products
- Cardboard and paper – can be pulped at recycling plants
- Wood products – can be converted into mulch
- Masonry – can be crushed for road bases
- Plastic packaging – can be recycled or reused
Recycling also includes the land that you are building on. Always try to gently remove and replant any trees found on the site.
4. Use Standard Measurements
When planning and designing your project, building to standard measurements can significantly reduce your waste. Most building materials will be available in standard dimensions – this is also useful when reusing old materials.
The more you have to cut and reshape, the more waste you will produce. The first step towards taking a better approach to recycling is by reducing the amount of waste that you generate. If you can use every building item that arrives as a standard measurement, you will end up with a much cleaner site.
5. Recycle Onsite
When starting a new construction job, you will need to locate your closest recycling plant. However, plenty of recycling can actually be done on-site. This is easy, accessible, and it eliminates a great deal of transportation.
This kind of recycling can include grinding waste concrete to use as fill, or grinding wood, cardboard, and drywall to use as a soil amendment. Portable grinders to be used on construction sites are easy to manage and move around. This is becoming an increasingly popular way to deal with onsite waste.
Recycling construction waste wherever possible during construction is a necessary step to take in today’s world. Not only will it help the environment, but it can also significantly reduce construction costs. There can also be certain tax benefits to taking a recycled approach during construction.
As this can be such a wasteful industry, placing emphasis on reusing and recycling is vital. Following these five simple steps shows you just how simple this process can be.
At Chad Fisher Construction we constantly research new and innovative technology and sustainable, earth friendly products and material into our customers building plans.
Contact us today to discuss how we can partner with you on your next project.