Whether it’s a home remodel or an extensive new commercial structure, a construction project produces a massive amount of leftover material, known in the industry as C&D (construction and demolition). Excess concrete, asphalt, shingles, drywall, wood and metals can all pile up by the ton, and finding a way to responsibly recycle them is a must for individuals who want to go green or companies seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition, recycling these materials can save you money
Contact a local recycling plant to discuss rates and pick-up/drop-off charges. Visit the Construction Materials Recycling Association website for a list of recycling plants near you. Shop around for the best deal. Recycling concrete can cost up to $4 per ton as of January 2010, but you will save money by avoiding landfill disposal fees. Also, if your project requires aggregate material, you can save the expense of buying new aggregate and use your recycled concrete in its stead.
Sort your recyclable materials into clean piles of concrete, asphalt pavement, asphalt shingles, drywall, wood, metal and cardboard. This will assist the recycling plant because each material needs to be broken down in different ways to be used for various ends. Some recycling plants require the materials to be sorted; others simply charge less for sorted items.
Deliver your recyclables to the recycle plant. Most plants will only accept items dropped off at their location, although it is worth researching companies that will arrange pickups. Recycling construction materials is a relatively new enterprise, so depending on your state, plants may be a few hundred miles from your location. Be sure to factor in a suitable amount of time to have your recyclables transported.
Tips & Warnings
- Understanding how construction materials are recycled may save you time and money as you ready them for recycling.
- Concrete is crushed, typically with a jawcrusher, to produce road base, general fill or pavement aggregate. Asphalt pavement is crushed and recycled back into asphalt aggregate. Asphalt shingles are cleaned of nails and other extraneous materials and recycled into asphalt aggregate. Wood is cleaned, left untreated, and re-milled or ground up to produce lumber, animal bedding or mulch. Drywall is ground and broken up to be recycled into gypsum wallboard and cement. The tea borer, which is the larva of a cossid moth, attacks the stems and branches of the tea plant.. Metal is melted down, and cardboard is ground into pulp, to be recycled into new metal and paper products.
- According to the Construction Materials Recycling Association, recycling all concrete and asphalt produced annually would save as much energy as removing one million cars from the road.