3 Construction Waste Management Best Practices

The rising popularity of green building practices is shining a spotlight on construction waste disposal in the U.S. While federal regulations are limited, states and local governments are increasingly setting new requirements for the proper management of C&D debris. According to the EPA, more than 530 million tons of C&D waste is generated across the country each year. This staggering amount of waste has led to the call for construction companies of all sizes to focus on recycling construction waste on their job sites.

While the task to reduce waste across the board may seem daunting, don’t worry. We have a few best practices that will help you increase landfill diversion on your next project. Whether you’re seeking a green building certification or simply staying compliant with new regulations,  here are 3 tips to help reduce waste on your job site.

1. Set the right goal

Setting the right goals can be paramount to our personal and professional success. So, what is the right goal? One that is specific, measurable and attainable. For example, let’s say you want to run a marathon. You wouldn’t set a goal to run as far as you can; you would set a goal to run 26.2 miles.

Setting construction waste recycling goals should be the same. Rather than a generic goal to reduce waste on your job site, set a goal to reduce waste by a specific amount. So, if you are preparing for a LEED-certified building project, your goal would be to recycle 50% of construction waste materials from landfill (percentage varies based on the specific certification).

2. Plan based on your project

Once you have your goal in place, you can begin to map out how you will reach it. Just like every marathon runner may have a unique training regimen that works for him or her, each project or job site has specific requirements and restrictions that must be taken into consideration when developing a construction waste plan.

To create your site-specific plan, start by answering a few key questions about your project:

  • How much space is available for waste and recycling containers?
  • What Construction & Demolition recycling services are available in the area?
  • What type of construction waste materials do you anticipate?

A list construction wastes readily recyclable includes:

  • Construction Debris
  • Wood
  • Concrete
  • Roofing
  • Drywall
  • Metal
  • Plastics
  • Cardboard
  • Pallets
  • Hazardous Waste

The answers to the above questions will help you identify the recycling programs, containers and service schedules that best align with your waste reduction goal and the needs of your job site.

3. Get everyone on board

You’ve probably heard the phrase “teamwork makes the dream work.” Yes, it’s cheesy, but without the support of those around you, it is a lot harder to reach any goal. Start by setting your team up for success by clearly communicating your construction waste recycling goals and each team member’s roles and responsibilities in reaching them.

To make sure your team is invested in recycling, hold your crew and subcontractors accountable for material recovery. This is a great way to get everyone on board and proactively manage your project’s waste.

Adjust your SOP to include:

  • Waste reduction updates in team meetings
  • Waste and recycling statistics in status reports
  • Waste prevention and disposal requirements in vendor contracts

These new procedures will keep your teams accountable and also help to keep waste top of mind. As you start planning for your next project, consider these best practices to not only manage but reduce waste on your job site.

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