Surprising or not, construction waste accounts for approximately a third of U.S nationwide refuse. With such statistics, even modest efforts to use construction site debris and existing building materials can be beneficial. Interestingly, most of this waste can be reused or recycled to promote environmental sustainability. That said, consider the following tips to reduce waste from your construction site.
1. Always Plan Ahead
Planning is always the first step before any construction begins. Therefore, ensure that your project manager comes up with a practical building plan. With proper planning and organization, few mistakes that lead to little material wastage are likely to be made during the construction. A detailed plan should include the following;
The exact amount of material required – only order what is required It should identify the recyclable materials Account for potential wastage Indicate positioning of jobsite recycling and compost waste bins Educate workers on how to sort waste produced during the construction
Most construction wastes are generated due to inefficient purchasing. Therefore, avoid using the regular template buying practice and consider purchasing items specifically required for the project.
2. Organize the Construction Site
You will awe at the difference brought about by organizing your construction site. A properly organized construction site reduces the chances of making mistakes. For instance, you should clearly separate and label waste from recyclable containers to avoid confusion and increase productivity.
3. Choose the Right Vendor
Choosing the right vendors is another important tip if you want to achieve sustainability goals in your construction project. The right vendors should provide the required services and support your sustainability goals to the latter.
Unfortunately, choosing vendors who won’t slow down your project can be challenging, especially for those constructing for the first time.
It won’t be beneficial to sort materials for collection if the recycling service provider doesn’t empty the containers in time.
Some recycling service providers offer only a one-stream recycling option, meaning that you won’t have to pre-sort the recyclable materials.
While such vendors might be expensive, they are time-saving and make it easy to achieve sustainability goals. Ensure that you shop around and compare multiple vendors before making a selection.
4. Deconstruct Instead of Demolishing
The U.S Green Building Council encourages the adoption of deconstruction as a reuse strategy and a perfect alternative to demolition. Unlike demolition, the deconstruction process involves disassembling the building materials individually and preserving them to minimize waste.
Salvaged materials from deconstruction are often useful, reusable, and transformed into valuable materials that can be used in other construction projects.
While standard demolition involves removing high-value and reusable items, the main difference is that there is little chance of recovering reusable materials after the demolition.
Deconstructing your building before demolition is beneficial to the environment and promotes public health care by reducing air pollutants associated with demolition.
5. Recycle What Cannot Be Reused
Any standard construction site has materials that can be recycled, salvaged, or reused. Having recycling bins on your job site makes it easy for construction workers to sort materials as they are generated. Some materials that can go into recycling bins include;
Bricks Metal Carpeting Gravel Concrete Asphalt Cardboards Paper Plastics Drywall Untreated wood Roofing Window glass 6. Reduce Packaging
An estimated 10 to 12% of construction waste comes from cardboard. Therefore, while protecting new materials is important, encourage your contractor to direct suppliers and subcontractors to avoid non-essential packaging. Some of the best practices to minimize packaging include;
Purchase construction materials in bulk and avoid individual packaging Use returnable packaging materials Reuse non-returnable packaging containers such as barrels, buckets, and tubs Donate non-returnable packaging materials to schools, shelters, youth groups, and more. 7. Reuse or Donate Materials in Good Condition
Before disposing of all the materials into your construction dumpster, consider giving some materials a new life by reusing or donating them. Keep the materials that are in good condition for use in another project. For instance, you can chip scrapped wood for use as mulch provided it doesn’t have any paint or is stained. Similarly, donate hardware such as doors, appliances, and other fixtures to charitable organizations.
8. Identify a Local Recycling Center
If you can’t recycle all the resultant items from your construction site, take advantage of locally available recycling centers. Consult your recycling service provider for the best suggestions, including materials that the center can take and in which form.
Prioritize recyclers that accept mixed debris since it eliminates the hassle of having to sort out the waste. The cost of using a recycling center is also cheap compared to paying for landfills.
Building, renovation, and destruction of individual and commercial buildings often produce a lot of debris. However, with increased awareness on environmental sustainability and conservation, ensure that your upcoming construction site produces the least possible waste. Follow the tips mentioned above to avoid sending reusable materials into landfills.