Recycling Construction Waste

<p>With debris from construction and demolition of buildings accounting for nearly one-half of all solid waste in the U.S., some entrepreneurs are looking at this landfill fodder as a viable source of reconstruction materials -- and a source of revenue.</p>
February 6, 2007, 12pm PST | Nate Berg
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"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that up to 40 percent of U.S. solid waste is construction and demolition (C&D) debris. Even worse, only 35 to 45 percent of this debris actually makes it into properly designated landfills. Some waste is recycled or managed on-site, but at least a third is illegally dumped in non-permitted landfills."

"A number of green groups are working to reduce construction waste, but the EPA estimates that only eight percent of C&D debris is actually from building sites-the rest is from renovations and demolition. Buildings are usually bulldozed under the assumption that it is cheaper to demolish a home than to disassemble it and sell the used materials."

"What had been a total loss-demolition and landfilling-turns into a revenue-generating opportunity to resell what was previously waste. Joe DeRisi of Urban Miners in Hamden, Connecticut says the average full deconstruction can salvage as much as 80 percent of a building. Deconstruction also decreases demand for new construction products, he says, reducing the waste and pollution associated with production from virgin materials."

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Published on Thursday, February 1, 2007 in E, The Environmental Magazine
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