Maximize Construction Recycling Efforts for Sustainable Buildings

Maximize Construction Recycling Efforts for Sustainable Buildings


As sustainable building practices continue to become standard, recycling is becoming less optional, and construction firms are having to adjust how they go about building. Because of this shift, landfill diversion is more important than ever.

The key to increasing landfill diversion rates – no matter what green building standard you are working to achieve – actually happens before ground is even broken.

Plan and organize

Planning is absolutely essential when it comes to construction sites, but not always in the ways people assume. If a LEED certification is part of your construction project, you know that landfill diversion is going to be a big factor right off the bat. By organizing your Jobsite to reflect a serious dedication to efficiency and recycling, you can increase landfill diversion rates.

Your best option is to find a single vendor that can handle everything your Jobsite needs. No matter what, make sure that you’re working with the vendors that are best for your project. If recycling is a passing concern for a given vendor, your waste numbers will reflect that.

When it comes to a building standard like LEED, every pound counts toward certification. Keep in mind that the standards for LEED and other similar certifications are strict, so recycling should be a priority one from day one. Your vendors need to keep the LEED certification in mind in order to provide you with the data to track those LEED credits. Compliance is achieved through planning.

Get everyone on board

Once you’ve established what it is you want to accomplish, it’s time to get the team on board. In the construction world, that means talking with the vendors, contractors and foremen responsible for making sure that everything that can be diverted from the landfill is being diverted. There are a lot of moving parts on a construction site, and they all have their own associated needs. You will maximize construction recycling and can create efficient building projects by organizing your construction site with the needs of your waste removal and recycling vendors in mind from the beginning.

Communication and education are cornerstones of a great team. Keeping everyone on the same page is a never-ending process, which is why documentation is also critical to success. Keep good records, communicate and collaborate; and your next project will run smoothly, on time and under budget.

Factors to consider

When planning your construction site, think in line with the project. As your project transforms, so will your needs. Take those changes into consideration as you prepare each phase of your project. Your vendors also need to be on the same page. For instance, as your project nears completion, the materials being recycled will change from raw materials to materials that can be reused, such as carpet and drywall. Having the proper containers handy will ensure that the most is made of excess materials.

Additionally, in the last phases of a construction project, space becomes an important factor. Don’t let the later phases of construction throw off your recycling goals — plan accordingly in the beginning. Regularly and consistently evaluate how waste and recycled materials are being tracked. You can’t divert waste once it’s been thrown away, so don’t miss out on project recycling goals by not paying attention to the amount of material being thrown away. Make sure your vendors provide you with the data you need to make sure your job moves forward and remains compliant.

There is a lot of planning that goes into a construction site, and there are dozens of things to take into consideration. If a LEED certification is on the books for your next building project, recycling and landfill diversion are going to be two immediate challenges. With the right planning, however, you will maximize construction recycling end result will be a successful, safer and overall more efficient construction project.


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