The construction of a new building or home is a sight to behold. Watching as the many layers come together to form a completed structure is both captivating and awe inspiring. If you ever have a chance to see a hyperlapse (sped up) video of the construction process, you can see just how impressive it really is. As beautiful as the construction process is, the demolition process is one that is known for creating more waste than any other industry. A certain degree of waste is inevitable; however, the degree of impact does not have to be as damaging as it has come to be.
Contractors and construction professionals have many more options now than they ever did in the past when it comes to reducing waste and being environmentally conscious. One of the major factors towards achieving this is planning. Not only does planning help when managing construction waste, it also helps to control costs (a major bonus). The same level of planning that goes into the development of a structure can be applied to the demolition of one. During the project planning phase construction professionals can use some of the following guidelines for managing and reducing waste:
- Determine waste management goals and document the procedures to achieve them
- Identify the materials that can be recycled and specify how they will be sorted and transported (and where)
- The following are some common items that can be recycled on construction sites:
o Wood (not stained or painted)
o Metal (ferrous and non ferrous)
Here are some tips for reducing construction site waste:
- Materials generally come in standard sizes. In the planning phase, attempt to design building dimensions to these standards. This will help to reduce the amount of materials left over.
- When performing demolition or remodeling projects, try and salvage materials like doors and windows since they are generally non-recyclable. This, however, does not mean they cannot be re-used. Reusing good quality salvaged materials on future projects or donating them can limit the amount of overall waste created.
- Order materials to strategically. Try to limit the amount of materials delivered to your job site.
- Protect your materials from hazards that may cause damage. Storms, fires, spills etc. are not always predictable and can cause serious damage to materials that are left exposed or unprotected.
Recycling on a construction site is easier said than done, but, doing so can greatly contribute to the increased environmental efforts taking place around the globe.