According to the Construction Materials Recycling Association, demolition and construction waste are the largest sources of trash in the US. They have estimated that around 325 million tons of recoverable construction debris is generated in the country each year. And all those materials like concrete, metal, wood, asphalt, block etc ends up in a landfill. The only solution to this issue is to recycle these building materials at the construction site and take up all the things that can be reused.
Though it is not possible to reuse or recycle every bit of the construction/demolition waste, you can definitely recycle the building materials mentioned below. Keep scrolling to know which building materials can be recycled at the construction site itself.
Copper is one of the most required metals in any construction project. As per the sources, an average home comprises of about 400 pounds of copper in piping and wiring. The copper recycling market is so lucrative that thieves often break into construction sites to steal copper piping and wire.
Though when copper is recycled it retains its strength and durability, several building projects require new copper pipe and wire as they cannot be reused in plumbing or electrical installations so it’s more often salvaged and sold to junkyards and scrap-metal dealers to be used elsewhere.
On an average, almost 65 million tons of scrap steel is recycled every year. Builders must consider recycling steel as it maintains its strength and durability. As a matter of fact, most of the steel framings contain minimum 28 percent of recycled steel. Workers will an amount of steel equal to about six junked automobiles to construct a typical 2,000-square-foot house. Trusses, steel girders, pilings etc. can be recycled from construction sites.
Thousands of miles of roadway are resurfaced or replaced every year. Asphalt is not only used to build roads in residential neighborhoods but also in airport runways, highways and parking lots. Resources estimate that builders neglect and remove more than 90 million tons of asphalt each year. And out of that 90 per cent asphalt is recycled and reused in repaving and reconstruction projects.
Generally, people don’t realize the amount of landscape waste they generate every year. Recycling landscape waste must be considered in any construction project. Builders are highly encouraged to reuse or recycle the landscape waste. They can reuse it as mulch to place around the yard as a landscape accent and to reduce weed growth. Also, individual homeowners can also compost most landscape waste, or dig up and replant vegetation.
Concrete waste is reused and recycled on an abundance thus saving builders millions of money and freeing up space in landfills. As per the sources, construction industry recycles 140 million tons of concrete in the US each year.
Recycled concrete can be a good foundation for placing pipes and other utilities. Crushed concrete can be reused as a building material in pavement for driveways and roads. Large pieces of concrete rubble are also used by landscapers in their work.
Roughly 1 million new individual homes for single family are constructed each year at cost of $100 billion approx. This amount gets doubled up to $200 billion when construction of multi-family or manufactured homes is taken into account including the repair and renovation of existing homes. Most of the expenses are spent on wood that is used for framing, doors, windows, sheathing, floors etc and most of the wood comes from raw timber.
If builders start recycling or reusing all these wood in a 2000-square-foot home, they can generate up to 6000 board-feet in reusable lumber saving 33 trees. Wood can be reused or recycled in a number of ways. Builders can reuse wood to construct new barns and fences or particle board by grinding waste wood by machines.
There is no limitation on how builders can recycle or reuse the building materials at their construction sites. At the end, it depends on you will to save natural resources and money in the best possible way.