The Benefits of Construction and Demolition Recycling
When large structures like old office buildings or parking garages get torn down, have you ever wondered what happens to the materials afterward? Most of the debris is taken to special construction and demolition (C&D) recycling facilities to be processed and reused.
Despite being less well-known than household recyclables such as plastics, C&D materials account for almost a third of all recycled waste in the United States.
Some common types of recyclable C&D materials include:
- Concrete and asphalt
- Wood (from planks, doors, etc.)
C&D recycling is beneficial for various reasons, such as financial and environmental, providing construction companies with reimbursements for recycling and leaving significantly less waste after a structure is torn down.
Financial Benefits of Recycling C&D Materials
Save Your Company Money
Recycling C&D materials does more than help the environment. It can also help you maximize your bottom line. Once C&D materials are broken down, they must be removed from the site. Often, this involves taking it to a disposal plant or a specialized facility that can recycle C&D debris. Of course, this depends on the condition of the materials when they are recycled, as most recycling facilities won’t accept C&D recyclables if they’re in poor condition or contaminated (i.e., contain asbestos).
These facilities will charge you depending on the condition, amount, and type of materials you get rid of. If the items are in good condition, it’s cheaper to send them to be recycled than to a garbage dump. For example, construction timber is significantly cheaper to process through recycling than to send to a landfill. The costs will depend on your geographical location and the facility’s fees, so it’s always a good idea to shop around locally to see who’s the most affordable.
Some state governments will provide you with tax benefits for recycling C&D items. Check your state’s website to learn more specific information. You’ll need to meet certain requirements to earn tax benefits. Some general guidelines include:
- Ensure recycled C&D materials are not contaminated or dirty
- Documenting and disclosing when the material has harmful chemicals like lead or asbestos
- Document the types of materials you’re collecting for recycling
- Consider the condition of the materials. Will they be able to be recycled?
Recycled C&D Materials Are Cheaper
Typically, recycled C&D materials are cheaper to produce and purchase than new ones. Like recycled plastics, since manufacturers don’t need to purchase raw goods from vendors or obtain them themselves, recycled C&D goods are just as high-quality as new ones. According to Gordion, construction costs have increased an average of 19% over the last few years due to supply chain issues. So cutting costs by using quality recycled materials is a great way to increase your revenue.
C&D Recycling Creates Jobs & Helps the Economy
According to the 2020 Recycling Economic Information (REI) report, a report done by the EPA, the recycling industry:
- Created 681,000 jobs over the last decade
- Generated $37.8 billion in wages
- $5.5 billion in tax revenue
C&D recycling was one of the top three contributors to these economic impacts. The industry shows no sign of slowing down, as construction demand will always exist.
Less Landfill Waste
The benefits of recycling C&D waste go beyond just the economy. Like other forms of recycling, C&D recycling is great for preserving the environment. We don’t have infinite landfill space. Once that space is filled, it will have to be expanded closer to where we live or into nearby natural areas (or the ocean). Since construction and demolition waste accounts for about 30% of all recycled materials (at approximately 372,913,275 tons in 2012), imagine if all of that got dumped into landfills instead of being reused.
Decreased Carbon Footprint
Landfills produce CO2 and methane gas just by existing. Landfills alone generated about 17% (14.3% MSW, 2.6% industrial) of the U.S.’s emissions in 2021. Additionally, acquiring new materials generates more emissions than recycling and reusing existing ones.
Creating a Circular Economy
A circular economy exists when products are reused and repurposed after their original intent has been fulfilled. Recycling C&D waste decreases costs, landfill usage, energy consumption, and emissions. It also allows us to be more self-sufficient. If we reuse materials produced in-house, we won’t have to import as much, saving us money and boosting the regional economy.
Reap the Benefits of C&D Recycling with General Kinematics’ Recycling Equipment
Processing construction and demolition waste is a demanding job. If you want to do so efficiently with minimal hiccups, you’ll need equipment that can keep up. General Kinematics makes rugged C&D recycling equipment durable enough to handle even the most demanding environments.
If you’re looking for a durable C&D solution, contact GK today, and we’ll help you maximize your ROI with minimal maintenance with our durable C&D recycling equipment.