Recycling, salvaging and reusing construction waste can reduce disposal costs and save resources.
As much as 90 percent of your construction waste could be salvaged or recycled at a lower cost than disposal. While garbage disposal fees in the Portland metropolitan area are about $94 per ton, most construction waste can be dropped off at a recycling facility for fees ranging from free to $35 per ton when it is sorted out. And when you recycle, you not only save money, but you also help conserve natural resources.
1. Research options.
- Investigate recycling and disposal options before the job begins.
- Work with your hauler or recycler to determine what materials should be separated for recycling.
2. Place bins carefully.
- Place recycling bins in a location that will prevent misuse or contamination. Even a small amount of garbage in a load of recyclables makes the entire load unacceptable for recycling.
3. Educate subcontractors.
- Clearly identify recycling areas with large signs.
- Educate subcontractors about what materials will be recycled for the project. Include recycling in their subcontracts.
- Teach subcontractors to keep lunch bags, caulking tubes and other garbage out of the recycling areas.
4. Coordinate pickup.
- Work with your hauler or recycler to coordinate pickup and delivery.
Easy salvage steps
- Consider deconstruction instead of mechanical demolition. Determine whether the structure is a good candidate for deconstruction or disassembly by hand. Find a firm to help you evaluate the potential for salvage and deconstruction in the salvage section of Metro’s Construction, Salvage and Recycling Toolkit.
- Remove salvageable items as early in the project as possible. Allow time for this at the front end of the project schedule.
- Look for salvage opportunities as the project progresses. For example, removing carpet may reveal salvageable hardwood flooring.
A few definitions
Deconstruction: The systematic hand or mechanical disassembly of a building structure in reverse order of assembly in order to reharvest the building materials and minimize the environmental impacts of demolition.
Mixed construction debris: Several types of construction and demolition debris combined in one container. Mixed debris can be taken to a drop-off site for recycling, as long as loads are free of household garbage, food, liquid and hazardous waste.
Source separated: Similar materials that are separated from other waste according to categories such as wood, drywall, metal, etc.
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