|Construction and Demolition Recycling|
Construction and demolition (C&D) wastes are the debris generated during construction, renovation, and demolition projects. These include a variety of materials such as: wood, scrap metal, tile, concrete, brick, asphalt, carpet, vinyl, laminate, sheetrock, ceiling tiles, air filters, wiring, yard waste, soil, glass, roofing materials, and insulation. Make sure to define what types of wastes are created. Most of these products are not harmful to the environment in their original state, but once adhesives, laminates, fasteners, paints, caulk, and other hazardous chemicals are applied, these same materials can leach hazardous waste from a landfill, potentially contaminating nearby soil and water sources.
Remember to provide campus construction and maintenance shops with well labeled recycling bins. These areas can produce large quantities of waste and manage most campus remodel projects. Educate, educate, educate!
Wood from C&D can be in many forms including trim ends, plywood scrap, solid lumber from cabinet and furniture construction, crates, spools, saw dust, wood chips, and shavings, plywood, oriented strand board, particle board, fiberboard, laminated beams, shingles, I joists, and treated wood such as decking, utility poles, marine pilings, and fence posts. During remodeling, wood could be in the form of items that can be reused such as finished pieces of furniture, doors, or cabinets. Recycling wood is not straightforward. Many areas have local wood recyclers. Be sure to clarify exactly which types/forms of wood are acceptable and how they must be prepared for recycling. Label collection bins and educate users on what types of material are acceptable.
Sawdust, chips, and shavings are easily composted with yard waste. Make sure to keep treated wood waste separate from compost. Composting operations can use ground particle board or plywood as bulking agent for compost. Dimensional lumber is often ground for landscape mulch.
Charity organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army will accept furniture and cabinets for reuse. The campus carpentry shop may already be reusing cabinets and doors on campus on a regular basis. The local landfill might have a section specifically designated for C&D recycling. There also might be local companies that accept wood for recycling. Another option is to find a company that accepts scrap wood for use as a biofuel.
Land-clearing debris contains a lot of wood as trees. Trees can be sent to wood processing plants to manufacture particle board, chip core, or laminates, animal bedding, mulch, or decorative landscaping material, pulp and paper products or composting material. Dirt is also sometimes classified as debris in the C&D process and is often sent to landfills to use as cover material or to other construction sites for use as fill. Other debris, like shrubs, grass, and flower material should be composted. Check with local forest product processors to determine if there is any opportunity to compost and/or reuse the material.
Concrete is made up of cement, water, and aggregate, such as crushed stone, sand, or grit. Mixed with cement, crushed concrete can be used for projects that call for a cement stabilized base. This recycled material is less expensive than crushed rock alternatives, and it helps preserve the environment by reducing the need to mine new materials. Larger pieces of crushed concrete can be used as rip rap or 3” to 5” bull rock.
Ceiling tiles generally are easier to recycle if a large volume has already been generated. The Armstrong Commercial Ceiling & Walls Recycling Program will pay freight costs for shipments of 30,000 ft2 or more anywhere in the U.S or
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a difficult material to recycle because of the high quantity of additives that are used during the production process. It also has the potential to interfere with recycling other resins if commingled because of PVC's unique chemical makeup.  While identifying a local facility with the capacity to recycle PVC may be difficult, there are a number of companies that are now accepting PVC for recycling. (See Resources for the Vinyl Recycling Directory URL.)
Scrap Metal, Paint Cans, Aerosol Cans
Steel has the highest recycling rate of any material in
Recycling scrap metal from a construction site is usually a day-to day occurrence. Provide campus construction managers with a permanent scrap metal dumpster for smaller construction jobs. This dumpster can be put on a schedule or called in when full, thereby establishing a very economical way to handle this type of waste. Local scrap dealers often have collection systems in place for large scale scrap recycling. The material is cheaper to collect than garbage and often yields revenue, making it a valuable financial and environmental asset to a college recycling program.
Campus construction projects generate notable amounts of hazardous waste including asbestos, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), lead, oil, and lab chemicals. Make sure all hazardous waste is handled properly during deconstruction. Many campuses have Environmental Health and Safety Departments to manage these types of wastes. See Chapter 11: Special Materials, Chemical and Hazardous Waste for more detailed disposal information and the hazardous wastes Resources section listed below.
Construction and Demolition Recycling
Construction Materials Recycling Association
EPA Construction and Demolition Materials
EPA Software for Environmental Awareness (SEAHOME)
Healthy Building Network
EPA Wood Waste Resources
Recycler's World- Wood Recycling
Wood Waste Best Practices- Clean
Asphalt Pavement and Shingles, Brick and Concrete
Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association
Earth Care Recycling, LLC- Hard Rock, Concrete, Asphalt & Brick Crushing
Recycling Concrete- Concrete Network
Armstrong Commercial Ceiling & Walls Recycling Program
Construction Materials Recycling Association Drywall Recycling
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Earth 911 PVC Information
Vinyl Recycling Directory
Bethlehem Apparatus Company, Inc. (Mercury Recovery/Recycling)
EPA Hazardous Waste Site
EPA Household Hazardous Waste