The idea of green building has inspired many construction companies to adopt environmentally friendly products and practices. However, managing construction waste is equally as important as ensuring a particular type of wood comes from a sustainable forest. As much as 40 percent of the waste found in landfills comes from the construction industry, and reducing this number is essential to the long-term health of the planet and the people, animals, and plants that live on it. Here are a few tips for seamlessly integrating a waste recycling program in your construction business.
Create a Recycling Plan
The first step in minimizing the amount of waste your company sends to landfills involves coming up with a plan that addresses all the moving parts associated with identifying, handling, and disposing of construction materials. Start with determining which materials can be recycled or reused.
In general, the following items can either be integrated into new construction projects or recycled:
- Cardboard and paper
- Wood and plywood, including brush and trees
- Roofing materials (e.g. shingles)
- Small and large appliances
Next, you need to determine what you plan on doing with the materials because you'll need to separate them accordingly. For instance, if you plan on reusing wood in your existing project, then you'll need to make sure that material is kept in a separate container on the construction site. On the other hand, if you plan to donate materials to a local recycling business or salvage yard, then you may be able to combine multiple items in one container and have it hauled to its final destination or place the container in an accessible area where a representative from the recycling business can pick it up.
Lastly, work with a commercial waste company to ensure you have an adequate number of bins on site in capacities that correspond to the size of your project to hold the materials. For instance, you may only need a 2-yard bin for a kitchen renovation, while you may need several 40-yard bins for deconstructing and reconstructing an entire building. Additionally, you may need to assign someone to check the bins on a regular basis to ensure materials haven't been mixed or to remove refuse that may have been thrown in the container by the public.
Train Your Staff
The next step is to train your staff on the new recycling rules and procedures. This type of training may involve teaching your staff about the importance of recycling construction waste so they understand why the change is being, showing how to identify which materials should be set aside for recycling and reuse, and walking them through how they are supposed to handle the recyclables (e.g. take to a special container or call the salvage company for pickup).
Depending on who you ask, it can take anywhere from 21 to 66 days on average to learn a new habit. So be prepared to constantly monitor employees' progress and immediately correct any mistakes made.
Talk to Your Clients About Recycling
As noted previously, many of the materials extracted during a construction project can be reused. To help reduce overall construction waste, it's a good idea to speak to your clients about reusing the old materials in their new projects. Not only can this prevent construction waste from being sent to landfills, it can also save the client money since they won't have to buy as much new material. Additionally, some salvage companies pay for recyclable construction waste (especially metal), which can also offset the cost of new construction.
For assistance with setting up a construction waste recycling program in your company or to obtain bins to handle materials, contact a commercial trash removal company in your area.