Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste accounts for a
large part of the waste stream in the United States. While most of this waste
accumulates in landfills, experts estimate that 90% of the waste stream is
potentially reusable or recyclable. Recycling this waste can help to prolong
our supply of natural resources and save money in the process. Common C&D wastes that are recycled include carpet,
wood, aggregate, paint, metal, wallboard, and plastic. Other types of C&D
recyclable materials are appliances, asphalt, brick, concrete, drywall,
fixtures, flooring, gravel, green waste, OCC-cardboard, pallets, paper, pipe,
roofing, sand, shingles, and soil.
Three recycling methods available
to demolition contractors include the following:
material collection -
Recyclable materials are transported from the job site, sorted at a
designated facility, and sent to processors for recycling.
Similar materials are separated from other wastes at the job site by
category (such as wood, metal, and concrete) and sent to processors for
Recyclable materials are processed on site and made ready for reuse.
Markets for Recycled Material
There are many options and applications of the recyclable
material generated by building sites. These include reuse as building
materials, use as an industrial fuel source, mulch in composting operations,
animal bedding, and soil amendment. For example, material such as gypsum board
(which many landfills are prohibiting from entering) can be ground up and used
in many different ways such as recycled content for new drywall.
There are numerous cost benefits
that are resulting from C&D recycling including: reduced project disposal
costs, reduced transportation costs, reduced cost of new construction
materials, reduced labor costs (less material being handled), and the
elimination of the need for new materials for road base, mulch, and
Many states have
active programs that encourage C&W waste recycling. CICA Center is in the process of identifying
these and will create a C&D recycling state tool. In the meantime, please visit some of the sites below to see a
range of state activities and programs.
- Vermont. Each
year, waste from new construction, renovation and demolition projects
generates over 20 percent of Vermont’s trash. That adds up to 90,000 tons
of construction and demolition waste (C&D) which ends up in landfills
each year. Additionally, Vermont has some of the highest waste disposal
costs in the country. Fees range between $65.00 to over $100.00 per ton
and it’s not expected to get any cheaper. Vermont has created a Construction
Waste Reduction web page that describes a range of resources to help
prevent and reduce waste during construction, renovation, deconstruction,
and demolition and save money in the process.
- Minnesota. The Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide provides strategies
for the diversion of 80% of demolition debris and 75% of construction
waste (both by volume) from landfills through salvage, recycling and/or
- California: On their C&D recycling page, CA
indentifies reuse and recycling of C&D materials is one
component of a larger holistic practice called sustainable or green
building construction. Among other
resources, there is C&D
Debris Recyclers database to search for recycling facilities by
- Illinois. The IL C&D
debris page provides a general
understanding of the statutory and regulatory requirements governing construction
and demolition debris and offers advice on recycling.
Beneficial Use Portal. This web portal is a compact, content-rich resource covering beneficial use of C&D and industrial byproducts.
Recycling Today. A magazine dedicated to various types of
National Demolition Association. The
National Demolition Association is a non-profit trade organization
representing more than 1,000 U.S. and Canadian companies which offer standard
demolition services, as well as a full range of demolition-related services and