Construction & Demolition
Every year, construction and demolition (C&D) projects generate approximately 50,800 tons of waste material, which accounts for 10% of residential waste and 15% of industrial, commercial, and institutional wastes (2013 Vermont Waste Composition Study). C&D waste is produced from the construction, repair, and demolition of projects large and small. From homeowner DIY projects to the building or removal of large buildings, roads, bridges and other structures, materials such as asphalt, concrete, painted and unpainted wood, metal, and other materials are generated.
There are many good reasons to significantly reduce the amount of C&D waste that we landfill. Our landfill capacity is quickly dwindling. Minimizing the need to dispose of C&D waste not only conserves landfill space but also saves energy and resources. Finding ways to minimize the generation of C&D waste, or creatively reusing or recycling as much of it as possible, is a winning strategy.
Landfill Disposal Bans
Some C&D materials are banned, or will soon be banned, from landfill disposal. Clean wood will be banned from landfill disposal by July 1, 2016 as part of Vermont's new solid waste law, Universal Recycling (Act 148) which was enacted into law in June 2012. Clean wood includes trees, untreated wood, and other natural wood debris such as tree stumps, brush and limbs, root mats and logs. See the link below for more information on Universal Recycling.
Universal Recycling (Act 148) bans clean wood from landfill disposal by July 1, 2016. Universal Recycling bans recyclables, food scraps and residuals, leaf and yard debris, and clean wood from landfill disposal on a phased time line, with full implementation in effect by July 1, 2020. This is in addition to existing landfill bans in effect in Vermont, which include materials such as asbestos waste, paint, smoke detectors, and mercury-containing bulbs and products.
Vermont Landfill Bans (PDF)
Several items are banned from landfill disposal in Vermont, including asbestos waste and paint.
Types of Projects
Recycling is easiest on new construction
projects. Large quantities of discarded materials, such as lumber,
can be kept separate from disposable wastes. Recycling even one material
may divert the majority of your waste. Recyclable materials will change
during the life of the project. Wood and steel may appear first as
the structural work is done, but corrugated cardboard won't show up
in large quantities until the end of the project when fixtures are
Evaluate the salvage and recycling
opportunities for your remodeling project based on the quantities
of scrap materials that will be produced and the time necessary to
separate the materials. You may be able to make money, get a tax deduction,
or at a minimum, save on disposal fees on a project by carefully removing
building components and fixtures for salvage.
1. Contact Vermont salvage companies
and used building materials stores to tell them about the project. (Find C&D Resources)
2. Walk through the building with experienced
salvagers to determine what has value for resale or reuse.
3. Remove salvageable items as early
in the project as possible. Allow time for this on the front end of
4. Look for salvage opportunities as
the project progresses. For example, carpet removal may reveal hardwood
flooring that is salvageable.
5. Allow workers to reuse scraps or
make them available through a reuse center.
6. Require specifications for reuse
in the bid documents. Specifications could include a requirement to
"salvage reusable materials for resale, for storage for use on
future projects or return reusable items (e.g., pallets or unused
products) to the material suppliers".
7. Compare estimates for your demolition
bids to your deconstruction bids. You may also want to consider partial
salvage, such as salvaging the more valuable fixtures and materials
and demolishing the remainder.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Department of Environmental Conservation
Waste Management & Prevention Division, Solid Waste Program
1 National Life Drive, Davis 1, Montpelier, VT 05620-3704