Building season equates to active material recovery in San
In San Francisco and Oakland,
recycling means a lot more than bottles, cans and newspaper. They
love the heavy stuff — wood, metal, concrete and other construction
and demolition debris.
While many cities dump the big
stuff in a landfill, San Francisco actively recycles construction
waste. Here’s how it works:
Debris boxes of “mixed
resources” are brought to SF Recycling & Disposal’s
integrated Material Recovery Facility (iMRF) where elevated conveyor
lines, magnets, shaker screens and hand sorting by recycling workers
combine to separate 275 tons of materials daily. The modern facility
captures between 74 and 77 percent of material unloaded onto the
plant’s tipping floor.
Recovered materials are reused
or made into new products. Metals, for example, are taken to an
East Bay scrap yard and then shipped to different foundries. Concrete
is crushed and used in road construction and in mixing new cement
The construction season is in
full swing in San Francisco and Oakland, and building crews are
hammering away on projects large and small. Golden Gate and Sunset
Debris Box companies deliver and pick up at least 50 debris boxes
a day in San Francisco and Oakland and recycle the contents.
Workers erecting the Bloomingdale’s
West Coast flagship store at 835 Market St., home to the former
Emporium San Francisco and its landmark dome, have filled more
than 135 debris boxes since March of last year.
Swinerton Builders, project manager
at the Bloomingdale property for developer Westfield Group San
Francisco, requires a complement of debris boxes on site at all
“It’s a positive
thing to be able to recycle right at construction projects,”
says Swinerton general foreman Ollie Hurd says. “We’ve
educated the crew so they know which material goes in which box.
It works out well.”
Some 494 tons of debris –
including dirt, wood, concrete and other materials – have
been recycled from the Bloomingdale’s site. To date, the
project has achieved a recycling rate of almost 77 percent.
Construction crews are just as
busy at the new Federal Building project at 7th and Mission streets
in San Francisco. When it is completed in the summer of 2006,
the building will be 18 stories with a four-story annex and a
daycare center. Jake Nickman, project engineer for the general
contractor, Dick/Morganti Joint Venture group, says 7,200 tons
of debris have been recycled since work began in April 2003.
In January of this year seven
tons of wood, 66 tons of concrete, and 75 tons of mixed debris
from the Federal Building project were sent to the recycling facility.