The 2004 Statewide Waste Characterization Study conducted in California unveiled the startling statistic that 22% of waste in this state is made up of construction and demolition materials. EnviroCitizen.org has found that what many of us fail to remember is that most of these materials can be either reused or recycled in order to prolong the supply of natural resources while saving money in the manufacturing process. Additionally, it helps promote eco-friendly habits and practices.
Waste reduction can aid in reducing costs in the long term. It also helps in conserving energy and natural resources apart from reducing soil, air and water pollution. If you're not familiar with waste reduction methods, you can find a lot of valuable information online. There are many sources of instruction guides, pieces of advice and tips pertaining to recycling, reusing or reducing solid waste products. There are also different associations and organizations which offer financial as well as technical assistance for construction and demolition (C&D) debris recycling.
Reusing and recycling construction materials are two of the most important components of green building construction. Using our natural resources efficiently is one of the primary concepts behind green building and construction in which the remnants of renovation or construction projects must be reduced, reused or recycled. Practices promoted by green building construction include salvaging or saving wasted lumber, using old materials from re-crushed concrete and using glass for building countertops.
Once a building has been subject to demolition, there are typically massive amounts of materials that will be left over which can be recycled or reused. This would include concrete, wood, drywalls and certain types of masonry. Instead of demolishing the whole building, it is best to deconstruct just a portion or the entire structure. This way, the salvaged materials can be recycled or reused. Unlike demolition, deconstruction only involves taking the pieces of buildings apart and making use of its reusable materials. This method is as simple as disassembling fixtures, cabinetry and windows as well as other components.
For renovation or construction tasks, here are some things to do before you start your project:
1. Ask for information about waste haulers and recyclers in your area. You can check with your country solid waste department, state environmental agency or local builder's associations.
2. Consider whether or not you can use deconstruction techniques to prepare your site for the construction or renovation project.
3. Check if you can still purchase some of the things you need from local salvagers.
With careful planning and helpful information about the recycling and reusing of construction materials, EnviroCitizen.org has found that you can greatly help in conserving our natural resources.