Recycling C & D waste key to holding
and demolition waste recycling may be the key to holding down costs
while constructing environmentally-friendly buildings.
Wisconsin has seen a growing number of green buildings
in the last few years, and now the state’s number of Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings has
reached eight. WasteCap Wisconsin, a state-side non-profit organization
located in Milwaukee and Madison, has worked with four of these
eight projects to help achieve LEED certification points through
construction and demolition waste management.
“Waste recycling is valuable, especially
where we are dealing with large amounts of materials,” said
Barbara Monk, marketing coordinator for The Bentley Corporation
in Milwaukee. “Construction waste recycling is in its infancy
and is something that I believe we will see more and more of in
the coming years.”
Mike Walters, sustainable systems and energy analyst
with Affiliated Engineers Inc. in Madison, said working with experts
on construction and demolition waste recycling helps to build a
solid waste management plan.
“Education is the key to success,”
said Walters. “We have weekly or monthly meetings to make
sure everyone’s on track.”
A construction waste management plan should be
designed before construction or demolition begins, and all site
workers should be given instructions on what to do with waste materials.
The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center worked with
WasteCap Wisconsin in 2000 on its project to demolish its old nature
center and build a new LEED certified one. WasteCap Wisconsin developed
a waste management plan for the 34,000 square-foot construction
project that eliminated over three quarters of its total waste by
weight and reduced its disposal costs by almost one-half, resulting
in a savings of over $6,500.
“One of the best benefits of a recycling
program is some cost savings, usually in the thousands of dollars,”
said Walters. “And you can do a lot of environmental good.”
Walters said most projects now reach recycling rates of at least
Besides environmental benefits and cost savings,
construction and demolition recycling carries other benefits.
“Recycling sites are the cleanest job sites
that I can remember,” said Monique Charlier, division vice
president of The Jansen Group Inc. in Milwaukee, who worked on the
Schlitz Audubon Center. Charlier said that workers at recycling
sites seem to have a sense of responsibility to keep the site organized.
Monk said that implementing a recycling program
on a construction or demolition site is simple, and “similar
to what we do in our homes where we want to separate plastic containers
from aluminum from paper.”
Recycling construction waste adds little or no
extra time per week for an entire jobsite. Clearly labeling dumpsters
helps ensure that materials are kept in the appropriate containers
which will reduce the need to sort through dumpsters.
Recycling dumpsters tend to be less expensive
than trash dumpsters and over the time period of one year, it is
possible to reduce disposal costs by tens of thousands of dollars
with a waste management plan. Some construction-site materials that
may qualify as recyclables are cans and bottles, clean paper, cardboard,
untreated wood, concrete, drywall, scrap metal, asphalt, and brick.
“Any project of significant scale is a great
candidate for a waste management plan,” said Walters.
There are several local resources available to
help develop waste management plans, including WasteCap Wisconsin,
the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance, and the Department of Natural
Resources. WasteCap Wisconsin will hold its Construction and Demolition
Waste Management and Recycling Training Program on Tuesday, Sept.
26 at Waukesha State Bank in Oconomowoc to train professionals involved
in the building process how to set up and manage waste management
plans. For more information, visit www.wastecapwi.org/training.