City Wide Recycling acquired by Waste Management

Waste Management has expanded the recycling services it provides to construction and demolition contractors by acquiring City Wide Recycling LLC.

City Wide Recycling developed southeastern Wisconsin’s largest, and only automated, processing facility for recyclable wastes collected at construction and demolition job sites, said John Kelly, Midwest group recycling director for Waste Management.

The plant, located in Milwaukee, receives mixed loads of waste from job sites, sorting the materials by type and preparing them for shipment to manufacturers that can use the reclaimed plaster, wood, masonry, plumbing, wiring, soil, rock, cardboard, plastics and other materials. It began operating in October 2006.

City Wide founders John Hansen and Eric Konik will become consultants to Waste Management, helping the company grow its construction-sector recycling services around the country, Kelly said.

Construction and demolition work produces about 1.4 million tons of debris annually, nearly 29 percent of the total waste produced statewide, according to a 2006 report by the Wisconsin Governor’s Task Force on Waste Materials Recovery and Disposal.

Environmentally sensitive contractors are fueling booming growth in recycling at construction sites in southeastern Wisconsin, said Kelly, and those companies are recycling voluntarily. Wisconsin laws mandating segregation of materials such as cardboard and beverage containers don’t require recovery of wood, cement and other waste types typically produced in large volumes during building and demolition work.

Contractors’ recycling initiatives are in turn driven by a growing demand for green building practices among the institutions and homeowners purchasing building services, Kelly noted. For example, on January 1 the state of Wisconsin began requiring construction contractors it hires to recycle at least 50 percent of the waste produced during construction of state building projects of $5 million or more and all demolition projects.

Some 61 percent of contractors rate waste management plans as the second most important aspect of green building, just behind energy efficiency, according to a November 2009 study conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction with support from Waste Management. The study found that waste diversion activity is increasing despite the recession, with 20 percent of contractors diverting half of their construction waste on 60 percent or more of their projects, and 25 percent expecting to do so within the year.