Components of Construction and Renovation Waste

Creating a new building is a big undertaking. Lots of planning is involved. Lots of materials are involved. And, most of the time, lots of waste is involved: about four to seven tonnes of waste is generated in the construction of an average-sized home.

crd-rubbleDestroying a new building is also a big undertaking. The waste generated in demolition is typically 20 to 30 times greater than what was created during construction.

Estimates of the amount of Construction, Renovation & Demolition (CRD) materials in the waste stream vary from 22 to 40 percent. It's heavy, bulky and able to consume landfill space at an amazing rate: the destruction of the hospital in Swift Current used up a whole year of that landfill's life. Saskatoon saved an entire year's worth of landfill space by diverting the materials from demolition of the Mitchell facility.

While markets for CRD materials haven't been plentiful in the province, there is activity starting to develop from two sources. First, municipalities are trying to prolong their landfills and delay the (very expensive) siting and construction of new ones, and second, Green Building programs like LEED are demanding that builders find ways to divert materials to become certified. As LEED grows, so will the need for markets for construction waste materials.

Typical Components of CRD Materials  
Material Components
Wood Forming and framing lumber, stumps/trees, engineered wood
Drywall Sheetrock (wallboard)
Metals Pipes, rebar, flashing, wiring, framing
Plastics Vinyl siding, doors, windows, flooring, pipes, packaging
Roofing Asphalt, wood, slate, and tile shingles, roofing felt
Masonry Cinder blocks, brick, masonry cement
Glass Windows, mirrors, lights
Miscellaneous Carpeting, fixtures, insulation, ceramic tile
Cardboard From newly installed items such as appliances and tile
Concrete Foundations, driveways, sidewalks, floors, road surfaces
Asphalt pavement Sidewalks and road structures made with asphalt binder
  Source: US EPA

Now what we need is for new buildings to be planned for flexibility and built to last longer. This would delay the demolition waste and reduce construction materials because buildings wouldn't have to be replaced as quickly. (You know, the good ole first "R" - Reduce - still the best way to go).

[Source: May 2009 WasteWatch ]