Introduction to Construction and Demolition Waste in the U.S.
Disposing of construction and demolition (C&D) rubble creates an enormous problem in the U.S. Finding room for all that waste is a monumental task.
How Much C&D Debris is Produced?
In an earlier post, we discussed the 251 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) generated annually in the U.S. However, that appalling figure does not include construction and demolition waste.
Approximations vary wildly on the total amount of construction and demolition waste. Many states do not supply C&D data. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not confirm the data supplied by the states that do offer waste statistics.
However, conservative estimates put American construction and demolition waste approaching 460 million tons annually— almost double the amount of MSW. That is up from 160 million tons of C&D waste in 2003.
However much C&D waste is actually created, the majority of it winds up dumped into landfills.
What Is Included in C&D Waste?
Construction and demolition waste includes bulky materials like:
• Carpeting and flooring
• Corrugated cardboard
• Electrical materials
• Gypsum from drywall
• Lumber, plywood and paneling
• Paving material
• Plumbing pipe and fixtures
• Metals including steel, aluminum and copper
• Tree stumps and site rubble
• Vinyl siding
Reuse and Recycling C&D Debris
“Deconstruction” dismantles a structure piece by piece, rather than smashing the structure down with a wrecking ball or heavy equipment.
Many materials— like steel and other metals, untreated lumber, asphalt, concrete, roofing, and wallboard— can be saved and recycled at other facilities so others can reuse construction materials.
Steel is particularly easy to recycle. Its magnetic qualities make separating steel from other C&D debris easy and economical. It’s definitely one of the greatest recycled construction materials.
Make your next building a green building framed with environmentally friendly, steel recycled construction material