Construction and demolition materials (C&D) are generated during the construction, renovation, and demolition of buildings, roads, and bridges. C&D materials include concrete, wood, metals, glass, salvaged building components, Styrofoam packing, roofing materials, and cardboard boxes. Statewide these materials comprise almost 15% of the wastes we send to the landfill. In Saint Louis County over 600,000 tons of C&D wastes are taken to landfills every year.
Diverting C&D materials from landfill disposal follows the same hierarchy as all solid waste: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle as much as possible to minimize waste. Construction projects seeking LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) employ these concepts. The U.S. Green Building Council established LEED as national standards for environmentally sound building design and construction, as well as everyday operational practices. www.usgbc.org
The goal in Saint Louis County is to increase C&D recycling beyond LEED projects through options that are protective of public health and the environment and demonstrate an economical alternative to landfilling. The benefits include recovery of valuable materials and increased jobs. Deconstruction and salvage sustains employment beyond simply knocking a building down and hauling it away. Here are some steps to consider when planning a construction or demolition project:
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