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5 Things from Your Job Site You Can Recycle

With the population growing like it is, and older structures being torn down and replaced, construction and demolition are among the biggest producers of garbage. According to the Construction Materials Recycling Association (www.cdrecycling.org), “the construction industry generates 325 million tons of wast in the United States each year that could have been recycled.”

Building materials don’t come cheap, yet many are ending up in landfills. Both businesses and the environment would benefit from recycling extra materials.

Wood

The number of new homes being built in the U.S. is astronomical, and most use new wood. That amount of timber used is then added to manufactured homes, add-ons, renovations, and now you have a couple million trees being used.

Some timber that is taken out of old structures can be reused, recut or refinished for future projects. This saves trees from getting needlessly taken down and saves money. “Distressed” wood is very in right now. Wood that was headed to the trash can be ground up to be used in particleboard. It takes some thought and planning, but it’s worth it.

Drywall

Drywall is popular in modern construction, you can find it in almost every structure being built. Contractors have found that it is much less expensive than other materials. It has the benefit of being fire-resistant, lasts for a long time and can be painted on easily.

Drywall doesn’t need to be thrown away when it is ripped down. Pieces of it can be saved to fix holes or completely cover a smaller area. If drywall is ground up it can be added to fire-proofing materials or fertilizer.

Steel

Steel has many different applications and is used almost everywhere. Tools are made from steel  (the good ones, anyway), and it is in the frames that support everything from a house to a skyscraper. It can be melted down, pulled in different directions, beat on and bent to make it usable in almost every situation. Steel is in most vehicles, appliances and more, all that end up getting thrown into a scrap pile. Many millions of tons of steel are thrown away in the U.S. each year.

Steel will always be in great demand. All of the steel can be melted down and reused. Instead of leaving so much steel to rust and run into our groundwater, companies should routinely recycle it.

Glass

The construction industry isn’t big on recycling glass because it’s easily made and readily available as well as fairly cheap. Glass is often hard to remove from structures and is attached to other objects, such as aluminum or vinyl window frames.  Glass can be sorted and it is 100% recyclable. It can be melted, blended and remade into any number of glass items or fiberglass product. Recycling glass lowers prices for both customers and contractors.

Concrete

There are recyclers that will charge construction companies to screen out dirt and any other items out of the concrete and crush the rest. There are small machines that can be placed on the job site and used by the workers there. Recycling concrete can save contractors a large amount of money.

The concrete, after recycling, can be used in walkways, walls, and any other form of poured concrete. This form of crushed concrete can be used as a bed for the layout of drainage or any kind of plumbing. Landscapers also have many uses for this type of recycled material.

There are obvious benefits to the environment by recycling structural materials, but the hidden ones are the fuel and energy saved because the materials don’t have to be obtained and processed. Recycling means fewer dumps, and using less energy means keeping costs down for contractors and customers.

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