Putting Your Plan In Motion

We know you want to reduce your trips to the landfill but getting started is the hardest part. No matter what type of project you are planning; new construction, remodeling or deconstruction, certain planning considerations will always apply for putting your plan into action and estimating the cost:

First check with your local solid waste district about requirements and assistance programs, then:

1. Identify the types of waste and estimate the amounts of waste your project will generate.

2. Check out local salvage and recycling markets for each waste material your project will generate, determine how to reuse the material on site, or plan to give away discarded materials.

3. Determine the sorting and handling methods for each material and include in your Plan.

4. Determine the locations for sorting reusable and recyclable wastes and identify them clearly.

5. Establish a defined area for the operations of each trade. For example, store your off-cuts from wood cutting in one area so they can be sorted by dimension for future reuse.

6. Maximize the reuse of materials back into the job, by construction crews, salvage businesses or used building materials stores. You can also list your available surplus scrap for free on Resource St. Louis material exchange program!

7. Determine who will manage the program. Select a manager who has an interest in salvage and recycling. This person will be responsible for tracking waste reused and recycled, making sure staff and contractors don’t put any trash in the collection bins, insuring the bins are emptied as needed, and keeping staff updated on progress and problems with the program.

8. Educate crews and subcontractors about the Plan and post it in visible locations – such as at recycling sites and in construction project offices. Ensure that they understand your Plan and will agree to comply with it. On large projects or projects you are unfamiliar with the subcontractors, you can require compliance with the Plan in your contract.

9. Incorporate education about the Plan into the agendas of regularly scheduled meetings such as project safety meetings.

10. Include everyone in the process. Encourage suggestions on more efficient methods or on adding materials that can be salvaged or recycled.

11. Offer incentives for employee commitment to your Plan such as free donuts or pizza!

12. Include requirements for waste prevention, reuse and recycling in all bid documents and subcontracts.

VIDEO: Paul Merrill & Craig Bucheit of Clayco discuss the business case for C & D Waste Diversion

Around the country and the world there’s increasing emphasis on reducing the environmental footprint in building renovation andnew construction.

Ranking systems such as U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED™), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green Building Program and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Communities Program are gaining tremendous momentum and attention. Here are just a few reasons why:

Cost Reduction

Minimizing materials through appropriate planning, reuse and in some cases recycling, reduces material expense, waste disposal and hauling costs as well as potentially harmful transportation related emissions.

Public Relations

A company’s experience in waste prevention and recycling is essential in marketing their services to the growing number ofpotential clients interested in participating in LEED™ and other environmental rating programs and initiatives. Make the public and potential clients aware of your commitment and successes through targeted media releases, workshops and other related educational campaigns.


Your efforts to prevent waste, reuse salvaged materials, recycleand renew materials on a project can help the project earn pointstoward qualifying for green building certifi cation programs suchas the following:LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally recognized green building rating program sponsoredby the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED™ awards projects one,two or three points for achieving a 50 percent, 75 percent or 90 percent recycling rate respectively.

A project can also earn one or two points for using salvaged, refurbished or reused materials for 5 percent or 10 percent of building materials respectively. Some waste reduction and recycling strategies (e.g., returning wastes to the site in the form of new products – renewing) can also qualify for additional innovation points if it has an educational component.

Waste Prevention Strategies

The easiest way to reduce waste management costs is to prevent waste from being generated in the first place. Architects and contractors can prevent waste during all phases of a project, including the design, construction, deconstruction or renovation phases as well as when buying materials for the project.

Here are a few tips:

• Use standard dimensions in the building design.
• Use less framing waste including techniques such as increased spacing of joists and studs and in-line framing.
• Use green building materials such as products with recycled content.
• Consider used building materials. Most used building materials can be installed provided they do not act as structural components or otherwise compromise safety. Materials purchased at salvage yards cost 10 to 50 percent of the cost of new materials.

Tips from the North American Home Builders Association Research Center

Waste Reduction Planning

Planning for waste reduction is crucial to its success. A written, well thought out, job-specific plan, will reduce the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of, and can save money.

Here are some keys to cost-effective planning:

• Keep your Plan simple.
• Involve essential personnel in developing your Plan.
• Target materials with high potential for reuse and recycling. (Use these ballpark figures from Peaks to Prairies to get a sense of how much construction waste may be generated on your jobs.)
• Specify the methods to separate store and collect materials. Make it as convenient as disposal and protect materials from the elements or other damage.
Download the ANR C&D Waste Reduction Plan to develop your Plan. The main thing is to have it in writing, so expectations are clear.
SAMPLE PLANS: Pizzagalli Construction Company and King County, Washington

Finally, in 2003 the EPA put together a guide on estimating C & D waste available HERE.

Estimating the amount of recyclable waste for construction projects: conversion figures
Mixed Waste 350 lbs/cu yd 0.175 tons/cu yd 5.7 cu yds/ton
Wood 300 lbs/cu yd 0.15 tons/cu yd 6.7 cu yds/ton
Cardboard 100 lbs/cu yd 0.05 tons/cu yd 20 cu yds/ton
Drywall 500 lbs/cu yd 0.25 tons/cu yd 4 cu yds/ton
Rubble 1400 lbs/cu yd 0.7 tons/cu yd 1.4 cu yds/ton

Conversion Factors taken from WasteSpec, (Model Specifications for Construction Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling)
Appendix A Information for Bidders: Preparing Estimates on Recycling
(Source: Resource Efficient Building (1994), Metro Solid Waste Department (Portland OR).


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