The first step is to separate the materials at the site. While most of the C&R Waste companies who offer recycling services will accept co-mingled waste, the exercise of separating creates awareness in your waste stream, and minimizes contamination and makes the material more readily available for return or re-use. It is also a way for the estimators to get feedback on actual quantities used, and may offer some insight on better construction practices for the use and layout of materials.
|ReStore Volunteer Frank Hay|
Re-use on site is the most efficient. On my recent construction site, a wood chip truck converted all the remnant bits of wood and wood products into mulch. Some of the commercial C&D Waste companies have also incorporated this into their service. Gypsum board can be reground, and added to highly acidic soils, can be used as an absorptive material for animal bedding ( really!), or as water/sludge/manure treatment (California Integrated Waste Management Board).
The finer-tuned, and smaller scale re-use requires a bit more creativity, but can also help link your project/ company to the community. For example, what about donating left-over 2 x 10’s to a community garden program for raised beds? Or conducting a ““yard sale” at edge of the job-site to sell salvaged items? While each of these approaches will require more staff time, it also buys you a great deal of good PR – which could be very valuable in getting community support of future business.
We are all part of a closed loop - cradle to grave, ashes to ashes – the earth in balance.