Construction & Demolition for Residents
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 saved 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.
Universal Recycling for Residents
This page helps residents understand how the Universal Recycling law affects them.
Vermont Landfill Bans (PDF)
Several items are banned from landfill disposal in Vermont, including asbestos waste and paint.
C&D Waste Prevention Strategies
Designing projects whenever possible to accommodate standard dimensions of panels such as sheetrock, OSB or plywood, and dimensional lumber for framing will minimize waste. Sizing rooms, ceiling heights, joists, rafters and other components in 2 foot increments will help utilize standard dimensional lumber lengths. This will all result in minimal material waste.
You can further reduce framing waste by utilizing techniques such as increasing the spacing of joists and studs, and in-line framing.
Consider utilizing used or salvaged materials. Most used building materials can be installed provided they do not act as structural components or otherwise compromise safety. Materials purchased at salvaged yards cost 10-50 percent of the cost of new materials.
Select materials with a high potential for reuse and recycling.
Choose non-toxic materials with recycled content. "Green" materials have a lower embodied energy content, are more environmentally friendly in the production process, and are easier to dispose of in sustainable ways. By making a serious attempt to use materials that are less toxic or easily recyclable, you minimize the chance that landfill disposal will be the only option and avoid hazardous waste disposal procedures.
Find salvage and reuse material resources on the C&D Resources page.
One of the surest ways to save money and minimize waste is to order the correct amount of materials to complete the project. An easy tool to assist in this is a “materials calculator”. These online tools will quickly calculate everything from sheetrock and drywall screws to flooring, tiles, carpeting, paint, framing lumber, roofing and other building materials. Simply input your project dimensions into it and you will know how much materials your project will require. There are a number of material calculators available online.
Waste Reduction Plan
Waste reductions plans are typically used for larger projects, but considering the elements of the plan will be beneficial regardless of the project size.
To be the most effective, keep your plan simple and specify the methods to separate, store, and collect materials. Make it as convenient as disposal, and protect materials from the elements and other damage. The main thing is to have it in writing, so the expectations are clear.
If you are working with contractors and subcontractors, it is important to specify waste management and prevention goals in contracts and agreements. This assures that the expectations and procedures are communicated clearly to everyone. The following is an example specification in a subcontractor agreement:
"The subcontractor will make a good faith effort to reduce the amount of waste generated on the job site and recycle material as per the contractor's Waste Reduction Plan. The subcontractor will follow the designated handling procedures for each type of waste generated onsite and provide documentation to verify material reuse, recycling, and disposal as indicated in the Waste Reduction Plan."
Put your Waste Reduction Plan into Motion
No matter what type of project you are planning; new construction,
remodeling or deconstruction, certain planning considerations will
always apply. First check with your local solid waste management entity about local
requirements and assistance programs.
1. Identify the types of waste and estimate
the amounts of waste your project will generate.
2. Check out local salvage and recycling markets
for each waste material your project will generate, determine how
to reuse the material on site, or plan to give away discarded materials.
3. Determine the sorting and handling methods
for each material and include in your plan.
4. Determine the locations for sorting reusable
and recyclable wastes and identify them clearly.
5. Establish a defined area for the operations
of each trade. For example, store your off-cuts from wood cutting
in one area so they can be sorted by dimension for future reuse.
6. Maximize the reuse of materials back into
the job, and diverted to salvage businesses or used building
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