Whether you’re remodeling a house or building one from the ground up, you end up with a lot of waste. This debris, usually containing concrete, glass, wood and metal, is what makes up C&D (construction and demolition) materials.
C & D materials make up almost 1/3 of our waste stream so finding a way to reduce, reuse and recycle, keeping these materials out of our landfills, would make a huge impact in our environment.
As always, start by reducing the amount of materials used. There are many ways to do that, such as “advanced framing”. Used mostly in residential construction, advanced framing is “a system that combines increased spacing of floor joists, reduced headers, and expanded placement of stud (24” on center instead of 16”). This system requires less material and uses sized lumber more efficiently…” You can also reduce on site waste by using modular and prefabricated wall sections and trusses. And instead of wood, use steel framing members; they are stronger and lighter than wood, recyclable and their use means reduced construction time and costs. (EPA)
Reusing materials isn’t just good for the environment, it’s the trendiest thing in home décor and design. From simply transforming waste materials into art, to building an entirely new structure and everything in between, more and more artists and building designers are finding ways to use waste material in their projects. The Re-Use People of America are a non-profit company that salvages and sells reusable building materials. And take a look at this California home and see how much they saved (in monetary cost as well as environmental) using salvaged materials.
And when you’re all done and you still have a Dumpster full of rubbish, what can you do with it? Recycle it! The EPA suggests you “…contact your local builder’s association, your county solid waste department, or your state environmental agency. They will provide information on recyclers and waste haulers in your area.” You can also visit the EPA’s website for a list of resources to help you recycle your C & D.