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April 2004

Demolition Industry Calls for National Recycling Policy

Doylestown, PA— With 70% of the more than 135 million tons of building-related construction and demolition (C&D) debris generated annually coming from demolition projects, the National Association of Demolition Contractors (NADC) is proposing a major change in federal policy.

A sizeable portion of demolition debris, estimated to be 40%, is already being recycled by demolition contractors. But the NADC would like to see a substantial growth in that percentage and calls upon the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take the critical step of developing a National C&D Recycling Policy.

To make its case for a successful government-industry partnership in achieving this goal, the NADC has issued a White Paper entitled “The NADC Reports: Demolition Industry Promotes C&D Recycling.” In it, the NADC explains how C&D waste is currently handled state to state. At present, state regulations pose a number of barriers to C&D recycling efforts. These include: Excessive fees for permits to operate a C&D recycling facility; Over-regulation of procedures used at C&D recycling facilities; Limited opportunities in state purchasing procedures for the reuse of C&D recycled material; Unrealistic C&D recycling goals tied to regional or statewide mandates.

These barriers contribute to making the sizable capital investment needed in equipment, land, time, labor, and all other cost points to set up a profit-making recycling venture an unlikely prospect. The NADC believes that a National C&D Recycling Policy would set up an infrastructure that would free-up landfill space and promote both the sound reuse of valuable commodities and good resource stewardship, while sustaining a cleaner environment. Elements of the policy would include:

National guidelines dealing with the movement of C&D material; Standards for material quality, thereby increasing commodity marketability; Promotion of recycled C&D materials in the marketplace; National inspection standards for C&D recycling facilities.

One example given in the White Paper is President Bill Clinton’s order to the federal government – the largest single buyer of paper in the world – to move towards the increased use of recycled paper. The pulp and paper industry responded immediately to develop recycling facilities to meet this new demand. The NADC suggests that the federal government could produce a substantial increase in the recycling and reuse of C&D material by establishing purchasing guidelines and specifications for this material.

In addition, the NADC believes the federal government should offer tax incentives to end users of recycled products to further encourage their use.

To obtain a free copy of the NADC Report “Demolition Industry Promotes C&D Recycling,” visit the website www.nadc.org.

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