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“Recycling Construction and Demolition Wastes: A Guide for Architects and Contractors”

The Institution Recycling Network wrote this guidance document as an introduction and “how to” for job site recycling. Development of the Guide was sponsored by the Boston Society of Architects, Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts, and Mass. Department of Environmental Protection. The Guide was written for members of the building industry who have an interest in and understand the goals of C&D recycling, but aren’t familiar with how it works in practice. It introduces the nuts and bolts of recycling on the job site, addresses the most common concerns about C&D recycling, tells how to put together a comprehensive waste management plan, and provides case studies of successful recycling projects and projects that bring recycled materials back to the job site in new products.

Download the Construction and Demolition Recycling Guide (2 MB PDF - requires Adobe Reader)

Massachusetts Waste Bans for Construction and Demolition Wastes

On October 7, 2005 the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) promulgated regulations to ban the disposal of asphalt pavement, brick and concrete, metal, and wood that are generated from construction, demolition, and renovation projects. The regulations will become effective on July 1, 2006, and prohibit any transfer station or disposal facility in the state from accepting these materials for disposal. In forthcoming guidance, MassDEP states that it will publish exemptions for small quantity wastes from residential generators and “de minimis” quantities of the banned wastes in loads of mixed debris. Additional information can be obtained from Jim McQuade at MassDEP.

Download the MassDEP Waste Bans for Construction and Demolition Wastes (Updated 10/2005; 52 KB PDF - requires Adobe Reader)

Sample specifications for construction and demolition recycling.

These specifications can be included in Requests for Proposals and contract language to assure that recycling will be part of the project. They allow the specification writer to identify what materials are to be recycled, and include planning, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements.

Example 1 (45 Kb .doc) is a comprehensive and detailed specification that lays out very specific procedures for preparation of the Waste Management Plan, material tracking, recordkeeping, and reporting.

Example 2 (25 Kb .doc) is a simpler specification that includes requirements for recycling, recordkeeping, and reporting, but is less prescriptive in providing detailed instructions and requirements on the contractor.

Example 3 – Fixed Asset Recovery (24 Kb .doc). This specification stipulates the reuse or recycling of fixed assets (doors and windows, millwork, flooring, sinks and toilets, bathroom partitions, etc.) before demolition contractors begin wrecking a structure and render usable goods worthless. In almost all instances, recovering fixed assets is a good financial move, even as it provides social and environmental benefits. This simple one-page spec details materials to be recycled/reused, recycling procedures, and recordkeeping. It can be modified and inserted into the Waste Management section of the specifications for any renovation or demolition project.

Other Sources of Information

The following web sites provide additional examples of Request for Proposal and/or specification language addressing job site recycling. Most of them also provide access to other information and resources concerning recycling of construction and demolition wastes.

California Integrated Waste Management Board

Whole Building Design Guide

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Alameda County Waste Management Authority

State and U.S. EPA Web Sites

In New England, three states have developed information on their web sites specifically addressing construction and demolition recycling, and providing information about regulatory requirements and recycling options in each state. The U.S. EPA also has an informative construction and demolition recycling web site, which also includes links to further information. Here are the links:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

General Sources of Information on Sustainable Building

The U.S. Green Building Council provides national leadership to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. The USGBC developed and manages the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program and resources, along with other tools that support sustainable building.

The Green Guide for Health Care™ (GGHC) provides a voluntary, self-certifying best practices toolkit specifically for healthcare institutions. GGHC’s goal is to facilitate the integration of enhanced environmental and health principles and practices into the planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance of healthcare facilities.

The Connecticut Green Building Council is an independent organization with the goal to help educate Connecticut’s building community about the design and construction of high performance energy efficient buildings that are environmentally responsible and cost-effective.

The Institute for Local Self Reliance has developed a set of seven case studies and general guidance on C&D recycling, covering projects ranging from an apartment complex to a grocery store, and providing details on implementation costs, cost savings, and tips for replication.

King County (Seattle), Washington offers an excellent web site with resources on sustainable building and C&D recycling, including resource documents, case studies, and links to further information.

Environmental Building News is a leading newsletter on sustainable construction, with comprehensive, practical information on topics from energy efficiency to recycled-content products to land-use planning and indoor air quality. It also provides industry news, product reviews, and case studies.

The Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide is a bit bulky to navigate, but provides a wealth of information and resources on all aspects of sustainable building.

Also from Minnesota, the state’s Office of Environmental Assistance provides guidance, practical information, and case studies on sustainable building, along with an extensive set of resources and links.

Another Midwestern web site, from Wastecap Wisconsin, provides excellent information on C&D recycling. It’s particularly strong on case studies and links to additional resources.


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