Waste Reduction Strategies
- 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
- 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
- Take a virtual tour of a green construction site from "Build a
- 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.
- Multiply the time it takes to separate recyclables by your
labor rate. This number is your Labor Cost to Separate each ton.
- Multiply your time to haul recyclables by cost to operate
vehicle divided by tons moved to reach a Hauling Charges number.
- Add the first two amounts to the recycling tipping fee. This
end number will be the cost per ton recycled.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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