How We Manage Our Construction Waste

May 9, 2019 3:28 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The construction and excavation industries are changing in a hurry with the arrival of new technologies, and the way we manage and dispose of waste from construction sites is just one of the aspects of these jobs that has seen a clear evolution from previous practices.

In years past, it was common to cart away waste materials and leave them at a landfill. However, over time the costs of new materials and material disposal have both increased, and there has been a growing emphasis on more sustainable business practices. Therefore, many projects today are more likely to involve more careful deconstruction in a manner that allows contractors to preserve building materials for reuse or recycling.

Here’s some information about these changes from an excavator in Jeffersonville, IN.

The philosophy behind today’s construction waste management

The general philosophy that Estes Excavating Inc. and many other demolition companies follow with waste management today is to adhere to the four Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.

Basically, what this means is that any time there is waste produced as part of a demolition process, the demolition company should do everything in its power to reduce waste levels. Materials should be recycled whenever it is not practical to reuse those materials or possible to reduce waste materials. Recycling is the third option here, simply because of the extra cost associated with recycling many materials. If it is impossible to reduce, recycle or reuse the waste materials, then the demolition team should focus on recovering materials or energy from that waste.

These four principles guide many demolition and excavation companies, and help to lower costs both for businesses and consumers. The added benefit is a reduced environmental impact, which, considering the nature of climate change and a growing desire for environmental sustainability, is a key benefit to offer.

What are some examples of recoverable materials?

So, you’ve recently had a building or structure demolished—how do you know what’s recoverable, and what will those materials be used for?

The materials that are most likely to be recycled for new purposes are concrete and various metals. In many cases, swimming pools will be made with almost completely recycled material, as steel and concrete (their primary components) are 100 percent reusable. Any time a structure has been demolished, you can expect to have especially large quantities of concrete, masonry, wood and drywall that can be reused for new building projects elsewhere. Other architectural elements can also be reclaimed, including windows, doors, fixtures and cabinetry. There is a restock and reclaim industry that actively seeks out older items in these categories for purchase.

These are just a few examples of some of the practices used in today’s demolition industry to provide greater sustainability and help prevent too much material from going to landfills. If you’re interested in learning more about the demolition and excavation practices used by Estes Excavating Inc. in our line of work, we encourage you to reach out to our excavators in Jeffersonville, IN today.

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