California is witnessing a rapid reduction in the available landfill space due to the significant increase in the debris generated by the construction industry. As building materials account for about 50 % of the solid waste generated worldwide, governments worldwide are responding to this issue with legislation and regulations for reducing the waste.
Construction Waste Recycling
Construction waste recycling usually involves the separation and recycling of those waste materials, which were generated during remodelling and construction. Most of the construction waste, which goes into the landfills, increases the burden on their loading and operation. On an average, 8000 lbs of waste are thrown into a landfill during the construction of a 2000 square foot home. Some of the waste from sources like chemically treated wood or solvents can be hazardous, causing water and soil pollution. During recycling, some materials can be directly re-used in the same product, while others can be reconstituted into different useful products. However, the important consideration for reprocessing is that the facility using recycled resources should be located near the material source.
One of the most important steps for construction waste recycling is its on-site preparation. To achieve this, initially, it requires some extra training by the construction personnel and once these habits are established in our daily lives, it can be easily done at no additional cost. The next is the planning phase, where based on the standard materials and sizes, a design should be carefully ordered. A good plan in conjunction with high quality materials can considerably reduce rejects and boost profitability in the long run.
Demolition debris, also known as clean fill, is defined as non-hazardous, uncontaminated broken materials resulting from the remodelling, repair, construction, and demolition of structures, utilities, and roads. This construction waste material usually comprises of rock, soil, reclaimed asphalt pavement, wall coverings, glass, plaster, non-hazardous painted wood, plumbing fixtures, non-hazardous coated wood, concrete, bricks, non-asbestos insulation, etc. The government often makes rules for sorting of waste before it is hauled away to waste treatment facilities or landfills. Certain hazardous materials might not be moved, and the remaining materials which have the potential to recycle are either reused or transported to appropriate locations.
Strategies for Maximizing Construction Waste Recycling
Many governments have employed the following strategies for increasing the recycling of various construction materials:
A mandatory recycling policy should be established, ascertaining each state to adopt an ordinance requiring a certain percentage of demolition waste to be recycled.
Every project should have a mandatory construction waste management plan, requiring the involvement of manufacturers, builders, and designers.
Certain tax exemptions should be provided on recycling equipment, salvaged building materials, etc.
Deconstruction awareness should be carried out in the form of trainings for the best methods of material recycling, etc.
The businesses involved in building materials reuse and recovery should be publicized through various internet websites.
Hence, by maximizing our recycling efforts, we can substantially impact our environment with energy savings, landfill space reduction and everything which contributes to a better future tomorrow.