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Construction Waste

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste accounts for approximately 40% of all municipal waste disposed of in the country. In Seattle, approximately 150,000 tons of C&D waste were landfilled in 2005. Much of this construction waste consists of materials that can be recycled and used again. Contractors are finding that it is less expensive to sort and store C&D wastes on site for recycling, even on space-constrained urban sites, than to pay the cost of disposing materials in the landfill.  More hauling companies now provide varying levels of off-site separation and recycling of materials commingled in dumpsters at the construction site.  Here are 10 suggestions for better management of construction waste on your site:

  1. Go to the Contractors Guide (PDF, 811 kb) to learn, step-by-step, how to set up a job-site recycling program, write a construction waste management plan, calculate the cost-effectiveness of recycling, how to select a recycling hauler, set up your site and how to encourage your crew and subs to participate.
  2. Use a Construction Waste Management Plan (DOC, 36 kb) for your next project. The plan is a short, simple document for preparing in advance how you will manage your construction waste throughout the project. It includes instructions for your crew and subcontractors on which materials will be reused, recycled or landfilled and where they will be taken and the handling procedure for each material. Posting your plan on your job-site is an effective way to communicate to your crew and subs what they need to do.
  3. Understand the Architects Role in Construction Waste Management.
  4. Use the attached Recycling Economics Worksheet (XLS, 31 kb) to calculate disposal and recycling costs. The worksheet contains separate calculation sheets for commercial-hauling and self-hauling options, as well as samples of completed worksheets.
  5. Understand the different between Co-Mingled and Source Separated Recycling.
  6. Try deconstruction before demolition.
  7. Earn LEED™ points for construction recycling and deconstruction salvage. Go to the Construction Waste Management Credit (PDF, 92 kb) for more information about achieving and documenting LEED™ credit.
  8. Go to Recycle It! to find companies in the Seattle/King County area that reuse or recycle construction waste.
  9. Know your recycler.  Many local construction waste processing facilities report the percentage of incoming material that they recycle, or divert.  See the published rates at King County's website.
  10. Consider using a free online exchange to advertise and exchange small or large quantities of used or surplus building materials. Go to King County's Reusable Building Materials - Online Exchange or the Industrial Materials Exchange (IMEX).

Effective March 30, 2009, Waste Management will be the exclusive hauler of C&D waste for disposal in the City of Seattle. If you need C&D waste collection and disposal service, please contact Waste Management at 1-800-592-9995. Read the Seattle Public Utilities memo on the changes.You can continue to work with any Seattle collector for C&D recycling collection.

Read more about requirements for C&D materials third party haulers if you choose to haul your own construction waster materials for recycling and/or disposal.

Effective January 1, 2012, City of Seattle's Ordinance #123553 prohibits the disposal of recyclable concrete, bricks and asphalt paving from landfill disposal. Read more about the Ordinance so that you know what to do with C&D recyclable materials.

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