How recycling is changing waste disposal

Long blue dumpster full of wood and other debris in the driveway in front of a house in the suburbs that is being renovated

For some construction companies, recycling building materials can feel like a fad or an unnecessary hassle.

Recycling is here to stay. Since you need to include recycling in your waste management plan, here’s a brief guide to how you can handle different construction and demolition waste:

The single call solution

The simplest solution is to call a waste disposal company capable of handling everything you need in one call.

With Builders Trash Service, for example, we provide contractors and builders a single stream of waste disposal. Builders Trash recycles 100% of the waste. Builders Trash also provides our clients documentation of all recycled items and the proper locations they are delivered to.

While this type of service isn’t available everywhere, most major metropolitan areas can handle recycling all the waste created by construction. Builders Trash appoints a special team to remove and dispose of special wastes like asbestos and lead, which need to be handled and removed separately.

Working with an experienced waste disposal company can make planning your waste issues faster and easier.

The waste management plan and recycling

Every project should have a waste management plan. If you’re not sure what that should encompass, please read our Builders Insights post here.

Recycling should be a significant part of the plan. In fact no construction waste should go to the landfill. In Columbus, we’re able to make that happen. Rural areas have greater challenges for recycling, but any effort to recycle waste leads to happier clients and community.

Computer and electronic recycling near me

The era of demolishing office buildings that have massive electronic networks has begun. Similar to wiring and water pipes, removing cabling and brackets, then recycling them, is important. With cables and wires, there’s a massive amount of copper present. At the moment, copper is extremely valuable, so recycling can actually be a profitable opportunity for the contractor or the client.

Financially, many waste services contracts provide guidance and definition about how to allocate profits from recycled materials. Usually, the profit from recycled materials is credited to the client. The credit supports the cost of the project. In other cases, profits are held in escrow and provided to the client at the end of the project.

The contractor must ensure that the cost of removal is deducted from the monies given to the client. Payroll, removal and disposal will cost money that need to be accounted for by the contractor.

Metal recycling near me

Scrap metal from some projects can be significant. Proper disposal can not only be a major part of any demo, but it can also create some profits.

  • Steel roofs and studs – In buildings where metal is a large part of the construction, the steel and iron can be recycled. This makes it easy for the contractor. Those items can be segregated and removed all at once.
  • Lead pipes – Lead can be recycled, but its use has dropped since it’s not healthy for humans to consume and can contaminate the water supply. Lead pipes should be carefully removed and segregated for disposal. Most communities have a segregation area where lead pipes and lead paint need to be placed. Your waste contractor will know how to handle these items or your waste management team will need to figure that out.
  • Copper – As mentioned above, copper is extremely valuable. Removing the wiring and cabling from the building and recycling will net a decent profit. This should be done carefully, but it can be an excellent source of income for the project.
  • Computer parts – In the unlikely event there are circuit boards, computers, servers, and other computer hardware in the building, including routers and security devices, all computer parts needs to be recycled. The components are valuable. They also include heavy metals that can contaminate water supplies. Small amounts of heavy metals can be dropped off at the local recycling center or segregated and disposed of.

Recycling building materials near me

Many of the materials that buildings and parking lots are made from can be recycled or reused.

  • Hardware – Doors, door knobs, appliances, and more can be recycled or donated for reuse. Many are valuable for the components.
  • Wood – Wood can be chipped on site and used for mulch. This reduces the amount of product that needs to be moved from the site and can add a lot of beauty to the location.
  • Gypsum – De-papered and crushed gypsum can be used as a soil additive to make the soil grow plants better. This won’t work for large quantities of gypsum, but a landscaping company can help decide how much to use.
  • Fill – Brick, concrete, and masonry can be crushed and used as fill. This reduces the amount of purchased fill needed for a project.
  • Insulation – Leftover insulation or insulation removed from exterior walls that’s being replaced can be put into interior walls to deaden sound.
  • Paint – Leftover paint can be remixed or used in garage and basements. It can also be used as a base coat or primer.
  • Packaging – Many construction materials are heavily packaged. Some of it can be returned to the supplier for reuse.
  • Shingles – Roof shingles can be recycled and turned into new shingles, asphalt, or even fuel.

The Building Waste Management Stream

On a larger scale, it’s incumbent on the construction industry to deal with their own waste as much as possible. Construction materials accounted for 40% of all waste in landfills in 2018. In 2018, 600 million tons of materials were generated from demolition and construction. 455 millions tons were forwarded for “next-use”, but 145 million tons were put into landfills.

If construction waste is a major waste factor, there will continue to be legislation placing requirements on the industry. All of that legislation, written by legislators and lawyers, is an onerous weight that can be avoided. By finding our own solutions, we can make any laws and fines unnecessary.

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Joey Hendrickson

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