The long-coming ban of asphalt, brick, concrete, wood and metal in Massachusetts will go into effect July 1, 2006. After that date, construction and demolition (C&D) debris will be routed to recycling markets or qualified yards to receive processing to further reduce volume. Many recycling markets have arrived in the Bay State, hoping to benefit from the regulation that Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) adopted to stretch the life of the remaining local landfills.
Wording for the ban was suggested by a recurring meeting of haulers, contractors, architects, and logistical consultants like GreenGoat, based outside Boston. DEP worked with the group to anticipate obstacles and draft a regulation that the industry would accept. One exemption has been dubbed the “pickup truck exclusion,” that allows small projects to stay with traditional disposal for 5 cubic yards or less. Other measures make compliance less burdensome on developers.
DEP will slowly add other materials to the ban, and other states are watching intently to see the ban roll out to local projects. DEP began meeting on ban wording in 2001, and small companies began launching to gain a foothold in compliance and waste management consulting. GreenGoat is one of these companies, and has been waiting for its chance to reroute waste to more efficient markets. Says GreenGoat founder, Amy Bauman, “All the stars need to line up so that waste can be rerouted back to manufacturing sources, and even then we get a lot of skepticism.” She points to agreement among architects, general contractors, demolition contractors, and owners that waste can easily be diverted.
Building owners benefit through the savings from waste diversion. As tip fees climb above the $100/ton mark around Boston, recycling averages about $60/ton. Bauman sees conservation as a natural.
“It’s nothing more than renegotiating disposal choices that are too costly to remain in place,” she says. “To date, GreenGoat has saved contractors over $1.5 million in disposal, and this includes all related expenses, such as transportation to new destinations and added labor to remove items carefully.”
GreenGoat’s tag line “Saving More Than Money” could easily read “it’s only trash if you call it trash.”
What are the next materials on the block? Massachusetts DEP is addressing recycling barriers for gypsum wallboard, asphalt shingles, and carpet. Task force members are finding markets, quantifying waste streams and gathering ideas from other states. Each material has its own variables, applications, collection streams, and cost to recycle. In its mission to reroute C&D debris back into manufacturing applications, GreenGoat is finding a long road ahead with manufacturers leery of the processing needed to create a reliable, clean, and consistently available supply of post-consumer substitute for virgin material.
Two export paths are being considered keenly — domestic and international. As more and more states watch the progress of the current ban, some receiving states like Ohio are beginning to push back. Other economic forces draw C&D debris farther away: manufacturing shrinkage in New England means that recyclers are finding eager markets in South East Asia. In this case, shipping coordination, international negotiation, environmental risks, and governmental stability play a big part.
GreenGoat keeps an economic focus on local, regional, and international material flows. Amy Bauman will present two papers at the upcoming “Solid Waste Sustainability Summit and Information Exchange Conference” in San Francisco (April 2006). One describes the ripple effect of building material reuse (and how to calculate the community effect); the other predicts where green building benefits will be reflected in business transactions: appraisal forms, commercial lending arrangements, and new secondary markets for energy futures and other green building-related commodities.
To learn more about GreenGoat, visit www.GreenGoat.org or contact:
Director of Business Development