Consider Construction Material Recycling to Dispose of Debris from the Job-site.

Do your construction projects generate debris? That seems like a simple question – and one that should generate a “yes” from anyone who is involved in the construction industry. In this article we’ll talk about construction material recycling.

In other words: what you can do instead of throwing all that debris into a landfill.

All projects generate some form of debris. Debris can come from the demolition phase on projects where your company is dismantling work in order to install new product. Roofers need to remove existing roof systems prior to installing new roof systems. Re-modelers completing a kitchen renovation will be removing cabinetry in order to install new cabinets.

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New construction projects also generate debris and waste. Construction designs and processes always generate waste. These are the cut-offs and other unused portions of products that are not usable for the project. Framing generates waste when lumber is cut down to meet specific sizes needed. There are always pieces that are left over that cannot be used. It is not an option to just leave them behind. Contractors need to dispose of the waste in order to complete their projects effectively.

You’re probably already familiar with renting a dumpster and disposing of your job site debris, but have you considered recycling it? More than that, did you know there were benefits for you in recycling your job site materials?

What happens to debris that is generated from construction sites?

We all agree that construction sites generate waste and debris. There are technologies emerging in the market including 3D printing that will help to minimize this waste. Full implementation of these technologies is still years away. Until these technologies are available on a wide scale, construction sites will continue to generate waste.

For most construction contractors the primary option for disposing of C&D (construction and demolition) waste is to send it to a landfill. Dumpsters are delivered to project sites and are used to control debris being disposed from project sites. The dumpsters are then hauled away to landfills or possibly incinerators if they are available in the area where the project is taking place.

Another option for construction and remodeling companies is to recycle construction materials instead of sending the waste to a landfill. Construction material recycling takes waste and debris and sends it to a recycling facility that can use the waste for other purposes. Recycled construction materials may be turned back into the same materials for future use or they may be re-purposed and used in a different form.

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Which construction materials can be recycled?

The list of construction materials that can be recycled is constantly changing. New technologies are making it possible for more and more materials to be recycled instead of sending those materials off to a landfill.

The geographic area where the construction site is located and where the waste is being generated will impact the type of recycling services that are available. States may have specific rules regarding the eligibility of construction materials that can be recycled.

It is best to work with a knowledgeable construction waste specialist who can assist you in identifying potential solutions for recycling construction materials on your project sites.

The following is a sample list of construction materials that can be recycled instead of discarding into a landfill. Other options may be available depending on your area.

1. Wood

Wood framing and other wood products generate a substantial amount of construction related debris and waste on an annual basis. This waste is generated from fall-off from cutting framing pieces and trim pieces to fit specific areas in the construction and remodeling of buildings and homes. Wood waste and debris is also generated from demolition of structures.

2. Metal

Metal waste is generated from cut-offs and fall-offs that remain after materials are cut to fit specific areas. Flat sheet metal is produced in specific sizes for sale and then sheared to fit the dimensions needed by contractors. Steel framing members are produced in standard lengths and dimensions and are cut to fit specific areas for use. Recyclable metals include steel, aluminum and copper.

3. Insulation

Insulation materials including polyisocyanurate and expanded polystyrene insulation produce waste on projects. Roofing projects can generate extensive cubic yards of waste when removing these types of products during demolition of existing roofing systems. New installations of roof systems also generate waste when trimming insulation boards to fit specific areas.

4. Asphalt Roofing Shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are one of the most popular and common roofing materials in the world. Each year thousands of cubic yards of asphalt shingles are removed from existing roofs and disposed of. New roof systems also generate asphalt shingle waste as a result of cut-offs at details on roof systems. Recycled asphalt shingles have multiple uses in additional products after being recycled.

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5. Appliances

As part of a remodeling project contractors may be faced with removing and replacing existing appliances. Appliances can be recycled in many situations. In addition, local ordinances may require appliances to be recycled instead of being disposed of.

6. Concrete

Demolition projects generate concrete waste and debris. Road paving, building demolition and other projects involving concrete generate thousands of tons of waste on an annual basis. Disposing of concrete with traditional means of disposal can be very costly due to the weight and cost of transportation. Contractors may generate cost savings for their projects by recycling the concrete debris generated from project sites.

7. Glass

Glass is a major component of many buildings. Windows, tile and other building components are sources of glass debris on projects. Debris is generated through remodeling and demolition projects. Recycling may be limited to specific types of glass depending on the geographic area where the project is located.

8. Cardboard and Paper Products

Construction products generate a tremendous amount of packaging and paper waste. The industry has embraced technology and as a result eliminated a lot of paper used on project sites. However, products still require packaging which typically includes cardboard boxes. Cardboard can be recycled as an option to disposing of it in a landfill.

Why should your construction company consider construction material recycling?

Construction companies are profit driven organizations. Profits are generated from work that is bid or sold at a specific cost and completed at or below budget. The faster a project is completed the more money the company makes. And in turn, the company is able to reinvest in their future and continue to grow.

Benefits Of Construction Material Recycling

But there are benefits available to construction and remodeling companies who incorporate construction material recycling into their operations.

1. Cost Savings

Profits are required in order to sustain business and continue growth. Without profit, the business suffers and eventually ceases to exist.

Recycling can yield cost savings for construction companies. Recycling construction materials may be more cost effective than choosing traditional disposal methods. This can increase project margins or allow for a more competitive bid.

2. Differentiation

An important part of running a competitive and successful construction or remodeling company is creating differentiation between your company and your competitors. If your company does the same thing as your competitor and there is no difference, you are left to compete on price alone. Creating differentiation will support your sales efforts.

A recycling program can help create that differentiation in the market. Companies who actively recycle part of the waste that their operations generate can use this as a way of showing additional value to their customers.

3. Goodwill

Companies who perform well long-term become outstanding members of the communities that they serve. They are known for their stewardship of their resources. They look for ways to give their best to their communities and to avoid creating a burden for those around them. If your company does have an active recycling program, be sure to share it with the community.

Where To Start?

If you want to get started with construction material recycling, one of the easiest ways might be to hire a company that will take care of it for you. For example, a company like BP Business Solutions  specializes in waste and recycling management for construction companies.

Construction and remodeling are industries that will continue to prosper for the foreseeable future. As long as people maintain homes and occupy buildings, contractors and re-modelers will provide services to help maintain them. Why not consider recycling or getting creative with the way to handle your job site your debris.