Does it Pay to Recycle Your Project Waste?

Does it Pay to Recycle Your Project Waste?

There’s more than enough solid, time-tested evidence to validate the beneficial impact recycling has on our environment. For decades, we’ve heard about energy savings, the benefits of reducing landfills and how it all will impact the future or our planet and communities. At this point in time, it’s clear that even modest efforts to re-purpose debris or building materials can make substantial improvements. Even the greenest of construction sites produce various types of waste.

But even when presented with the litany of good that comes from recycling scrap materials, many construction and demolition companies still don’t recycle at their job sites. The reasons are varied. Some may be valid, while others seem like excuses:

• “Recycling is too big a hassle after a day on the job site.”
• “It costs too much to separate and transport.”
• “We don’t make enough to make it worth our time.”
• “We don’t generate enough viable scrap to justify the expense.”

If your company uses one or more of these phrases, the term “carbon footprint” probably won’t change any minds. So why bother to recycle construction waste when those reasons usually don’t cut it? It’s simple: recycling can benefit your bottom line when you have a scrap management program on your job site.

Benefits of Recycling Construction Debris

Recycling these types of materials requires advanced planning, but the short- and long-term benefits are worth the effort. Quite a lot of what comes out of a construction site can be reused. In fact, when deconstruction instead of demolition is employed, there is usually a lot of reusable materials that would otherwise be reduced to debris and hauled to the nearest landfill.

Here are a few benefits of waste recycling instead of traditional disposal methods:

• Lower costs to remove and haul materials
• No longer paying high landfill fees
• Contributing to the production of low-cost recycled products

You can recycle most common construction and demolition materials, but the list can vary depending on the location of the recycling facility. Typical C&D materials include concrete, tile, masonry, plastics, rocks, lumber and more. What can actually be recycled at your local facility may vary depending on location, so be certain to check before planning your program.

You Can Become Part of the Solution

All recycling programs have one goal: to retain the best value of the materials by upcycling them into new and different resources. Nobody is going to make a fortune off recycling C&D materials except for businesses that can produce debris in serious volumes. You realistically need big job sites, big equipment, and big storage facilities to wait out price changes.

However, that doesn’t mean that smaller outfits can’t make a nice chunk of change by taking the same steps on a smaller scale. Having access to storage or even a couple of dumpsters behind your shop to hold aluminum, copper or other metal scraps is a move in the right direction, monetarily and environmentally.

Something as simple as making a deal with your local scrapyard owner will put some money in your pocket while keeping some materials out of the landfill. Every job – whether new construction, remodeling or demolition – has the potential to produce enough waste to justify a trip to the scrap yard or recycling center. And enough of those trips might put more greenbacks in your pockets than you may believe.

At the very least, recycling is a feel-good thing – you’re keeping potentially reusable materials out of the local landfill and doing something good for the environment. And by optimizing the reuse of debris, your contracting business can earn valuable points toward a lucrative LEED® certification. Or it just may also work out by providing you with a not-too-shabby amount of “mad” money at the end of the year.

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