Construction waste – what you need to know

Construction waste

Construction waste and demolition waste make up more than twice the amount of municipal solid waste in the U.S., so it is important to consider how to best dispose of, reuse, or recycle it. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 534 million tons of C&D debris were generated in the United States, in 2014—more than twice the amount of generated municipal solid waste. Here is what you need to know about it.

Kinds of waste generated and their prevalence

The National Institute of Building Sciences reports that in 2010, the following proportions of waste were observed in the US.

  • Wood-30%
  • Industrial Waste Stabilizer (IWS)-25%
  • Gravel, aggregate, and fines-20%
  • Refuse-5%
  • Concrete-5%
  • Asphalt roofing-5%
  • Cardboard and paper-3%
  • Drywall-3%
  • Plastic-1%
  • Carpeting-0.85%
  • Window glass-0.15%

Construction waste sorts into three categories:

  1. Waste destined for other facilities
  2. Waste destined for reuse
  3. Nuisance materials

Management of construction and demolition (C&D) materials

To help divert C&D materials from landfills as much as possible, there are a number of things you can do with your construction waste. You can practice:

  • Reduce it- While there are a number of ways to deal with waste, your best bet is to prevent waste in the first place. Reduction measures include preserving existing buildings, optimizing new buildings, using construction methods that allow disassembly instead of demolition.
  • Salvage and reuse – Deconstruction instead of demolition allows you to recover construction material for reuse.
  • Recycle – Most materials are recyclable. Many markets exist for recycled materials and you should not have difficulty finding a recycler.
  • Re-buy waste materials – Not all waste is really ‘waste.’ Some of it is new and unused or is still in good shape therefore can be bought for your project.

Handling and disposal of construction waste

There are a number of ways on how waste from construction can be handled as well as guidelines within the law of doing so. To begin with, sort waste for easier disposal. After sorting, you can manage it as demonstrated above or if it cannot be reused or recycled, take it to a landfill.

Dumpster rentals offer waste collection and hauling services to dispose of C&D waste accordingly. Make sure you find one that you can afford but is certified and reputable nonetheless.


Check for available dumpsters in your area


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