Protecting Oregon's Environment
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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Land Quality 

Commercial Waste Reduction Clearinghouse

Setting Up A Program
Waste Reduction Strategies
Educate and Promote
Recognition and Funding
Success Stories
Commercial Laws and Regulations

Waste Reduction Strategies


Waste Prevention

  • Purchase pre-cut materials like foam-core panels and floor trusses to reduce waste.
  • Reuse materials such as siding, interior trim, doors, and framing wood, hardwood floors, bath fixtures.
  • Design floor plans to make efficient use of whole 4' x 8' panels and standard lumber lengths; design to make efficient use of standard lengths of heating duct materials, metal pipes, wiring, siding, and gutters.
  • Consider advanced framing techniques which reduce and use materials more efficiently. (From the National Association of Home Builder's Research Center).
  • Consult building trade publications, builder's associations and local or state agencies for information on resource efficient building designs and techniques. (From the Library of Michigan's Electronic Library).
  • Consider design for disassembly where possible as an alternative to demolishing the structure when the time comes; easily salvaged building materials can mean future materials sales or a valuable source of materials for volunteer organizations.
  • Work with designers, contractors, and suppliers with a reputation for resource-efficient design and construction. (From the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department).
  • Choose to extend the useful life of a new or existing building. Designing with higher quality, more durable materials extends life of the structure and allows easier remodeling, preservation, or conversion.
  • Take a virtual tour of a green construction site from "Build a Better Kitsap."
  • Go to "Metro's Construction Tips" for the Portland Metro Area.
  • For basic office waste prevention techniques see: General Tips


(from Earth Wise Builders packet provided by Metro 503-797-1650)

Construction Site Recycling

  • Visit "Deconstruction and Recycling News".
  • Identify which materials you can recycle early in the construction process such as cardboard, metals, pallets/wood, concrete, bricks, drywall and shingles. Metals such as aluminum and copper are valuable and metal recyclers often pay for these materials. Collect all metals such as pipes, wiring, steel beams, iron bars, cast irons bath tubs, etc. for recycling.
  • As you identify recyclable materials, assess potential savings in disposal costs. You can figure out the Cost of Recycling versus the Cost of Disposal by a few quick calculations.
    1. Multiply the time it takes to separate recyclables by your labor rate. This number is your Labor Cost to Separate each ton.
    2. Multiply your time to haul recyclables by cost to operate vehicle divided by tons moved to reach a Hauling Charges number.
    3. Add the first two amounts to the recycling tipping fee. This end number will be the cost per ton recycled.
    4. For Cost of Disposal, figure your Hauling Charges to move each ton of waste to a disposal site plus the tipping fee you pay. Often, the highest costs are in the disposal tipping fees, so whatever you are able to remove from your waste stream, the more money you'll save.
  • If you are in a rural part of Oregon, talk to whomever hauls waste in your area. Often a partnership can be worked out at transfer stations or recycling depots to find a home for the waste.

Waste Management Plan

  • Improve construction and demolition waste management practices with the New Mexico Recycling Coalition's "The Earth Smart, Money Wise Builder Guide". The program promotes clean, safe jobsites and construction waste recycling programs.
  • Develop a contract with your labor force that incorporates recycling into the project, at this juncture it becomes an actual function of the workplace, rather than an afterthought.
  • Designate recycling bins and offer incentives to encourage workers to work at using recycling system.

General Tips

  • Research your recycling options. What's available? Work with your hauler or recycler to determine what materials should be separated for recycling.
  • Place recycling bins carefully. Place bins in a location that will prevent misuse or contamination by the public.
  • Educate subcontractors. Clearly identify recycling bins with large signs. Inform your partners in construction. Include recycling in your subcontracts. Teach subcontractors to keep lunch bags, caulking tubes and other garbage out of the recycling bins.
  • Coordinate pickup. Work with your hauler or recycler to coordinate pick up and delivery of recyclables.

Buy Recycled:

The following are commonly recycled products: attic ventilation channels, carpet and under-cushion, cellulose insulation, composition board, compost, concrete, door mats, dry wall, floor matting, foundation vents, gutter guards, interior wall and ceiling panels, landscape timbers, paint, shingles, tiles, wall paper and wood finish.


For more information visit these web sites:

  • Composting Council of Canada
  • Composting News
  • Internet Recycling and Composting Resource Page
  • Recyclers World central composting category
  • US EPA composting
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For more information about DEQ's Land Quality programs, visit the DEQ contact page.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Headquarters: 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503-229-5696 or toll free in Oregon 1-800-452-4011
Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service: 1-800-735-2900  FAX: 503-229-6124

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a regulatory agency authorized to protect Oregon's environment by
the State of Oregon and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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