Construction Recycling – Why?
Construction and demolition (C&D) debris should be recycled. There it is. Simple. It’s a fact. C&D debris has a home, in a C&D recycling facility. Not too much controversy about it, right? Yet why do so many still not choose to take their construction debris to a recycling center? There are so many good reasons to recycle, some of them are mandatory.
Besides the fact that recycling construction recycling is mandatory in places like King County, there are other reasons that you should be recycling C&D materials. Two in fact. Two big reasons. The environment and the economy.
First, here are some C&D statistics.
– 534 million tons of C&D material was created in 2014. We can assume that the amount created in the last year is even more.
– 70% of material generated is concrete (375 million tons)
– 14% of material generated is asphalt shingles (76 million tons)
– 7% of material generated is wood products (38 million tons)
– 3% of materials generated is drywall and asphalt shingles (26 million tons)
– 2% of materials generated is bricks and clay tiles (12 million tons)
– 1% of materials generated is steel (4 million tons)
– Road and bridge construction projects generate the most debris
– Almost all of this can be diverted from landfills
The environment is a pretty obvious reason that you should be recycling C&D material. We have all heard the very real warnings of climate change and global warming. We have a responsibility to do what we can to help our environment. Take a look at the statistics above. 534 million tons. Just in 2014. That is about equal to 89 million Asian elephants. I am sure we have done even more than that in 2017. Keeping these materials out of the landfill is important for a few different reasons. First being that landfills take up space. Space we don’t have an unlimited supply of. Eventually, landfills fill up. Anything we can keep out of the landfills gives us space and time.
Sending material to the landfill doesn’t just take up space though, it is also potentially toxic. While the material sits in the landfill it can release toxic chemicals. Leachate is the liquid that is created when water soaks down into broken down waste. This liquid is toxic. The liquid can seep into the soil and groundwater. Sometimes staying there for years. All this can add to greenhouse gasses, which create methane, which is 25 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. Not only should we divert as much from the landfill as we can, but we must.
There is another reason that we should recycle C&D debris that isn’t so doom and gloom. The economy. Recycling C&D material contributes to many facets of the economy. In 2007 the C&D recycling industry created 230,000 jobs, 36.6 billion in wages, and 1.57 billion in tax revenue. While 2007 was a while ago, we can assume that now those numbers are even higher. By recycling C&D debris you are also supporting local businesses and communities. You create jobs. You create business opportunities. You help create a future.
So there you have it. Two great reasons we should all be doing what we can to recycle C&D material. Take a look bellow on how we work hard to make sure we recycle as much construction and demoliton debris as we can.