Construction and Demolition Materials
Construction and demolition (C&D) materials consist of the debris generated during the construction, renovation, and demolition of buildings, roads, and bridges. C&D materials often contain bulky, heavy materials, such as concrete, wood, metals, glass, and salvaged building components. Reducing and recycling C&D materials conserves natural resources and landfill space, reduces the environmental impact of producing new materials, creates jobs, and can reduce overall building project expenses through avoided purchase/disposal costs.
In recent years, numerous efforts have been underway to reduce the environmental impacts of construction and demolition projects. EPA Region 8 helps promote and facilitate the recycling and reuse of these materials by providing useful information and grants, tools, and resources. The following provides links to these resources through frequently asked questions.
- The Whole Building Design Guide's Construction Waste Management Database contains information on companies that haul, collect, and process recyclable debris from construction projects. Created in 2002 by the Government Service Administration's (GSA) Environmental Strategies and Safety Division to promote responsible waste disposal, the database is a free online service for those seeking companies that recycle construction debris in their area. You can search by state, zip code, or material(s) recycled. In addition, recyclers of construction and demolition materials may list their services in the database at no charge.
- ReSource is a building material reuse center located in Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado. ReSource accepts donations of reusable building materials and then resells them to the public. Everything has been donated by homeowners, businesses, contractors, or deconstruction experts. ReSource offers onsite pick-up and architectural salvage and deconstruction services. ReSource has a link to other recycling sources, some of which manage construction materials.
- Home Resource, a building materials reuse center in Missoula, Montana, collects and sells reusable surplus building materials to reduce waste, conserve resources, and help build healthy communities.
- Other resources to find local recyclers
Where can I donate or recycle C&D materials?
- Earth911 provides citizens with local options for reusing and recycling various materials.
- ReSource and Home Resource are building material reuse centers located in Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado, and Missoula, Montana, respectively. The centers accept donations of reusable building materials and then resell the materials to the public.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStores accept donations of new and used building materials and fixtures in working condition and resells them at bargain prices.
Region 8 Projects
"Paving Colorado Roads with Recycled Asphalt Shingles"
The Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association, Boulder County, and Roofs to Roads offered a free webinar on November 12, 2009, entitled "Paving Colorado Roads with Recycled Asphalt Shingles (RAS)" for transportation officials, design engineers, specifiers, and municipal public works departments. This workshop explored how Colorado highway professionals can:
- Ensure a high-quality tear-off shingle product
- Develop mix designs utilizing RAS and/or RAS/RAP mixtures
- Develop specifications allowing the use of RAS in asphalt paving mixtures
- Complete paving projects that meet performance standards
Asphalt Shingle Recycling and Reuse Initiative in Colorado
The Boulder County Resource Conservation Division, Roofs to Roads Colorado, the asphalt industry, state and city transportation officials, and other stakeholders are working on developing an infrastructure for recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in roadway paving projects to create durable roads, conserve natural resources, reduce solid waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce costs for paving materials.
Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Sustainability Program
CDOT conducted a study and completed a review of roadway projects where alternative materials, such as asphalt, concrete, wood, metal, and scrap tires, have been successfully used in Colorado and nationwide. Results of the study provide a knowledge base for CDOT and other construction engineers, recommend specification changes to accommodate the reuse of solid waste materials, and promote flexibility in materials reuse for roadway projects.
Final Project Report: Materials Recycling and Reuse - Finding Opportunities in Colorado Highways (PDF, 182 pp, 9.8 MB)
Information on state requirements and local programs for C&D materials management is found in the State and Tribal Links section.
Region 8 Case Study
Project: 1515 Wynkoop (Denver, Colorado)
Construction Company: Holder Construction Company, LLC
Primary Tenant: Van Gilder Insurance
Project Size: 330,655 ft2 office space (516,785 ft2 including parking garage)
Project Cost: $60 million
This case example provides an exemplary study of 98 % diversion for construction and demolition materials for new construction in the City of Denver, Colorado. The diversity of relationships among owners, developers, and construction contractors present unique situations for control and influence over materials use and reuse at individual sites. At the majority of construction sites, it is an owner-driven process. Many owners are willing to "green" their construction practices for the marketing advantage it offers them.
In this project the building developer, Hines, specified a goal to achieve LEED Silver for Core and Shell projects under the U.S. Green Building Council certification. Although Holder Construction Company has its own construction waste diversion plan that is modified for individual sites and an internal sustainability department, Hines' project goal for LEED Silver certification drove the overall level of diversion and reuse of materials for the project.
The building will contain a variety of retail shops with an underground parking garage. Holder Construction is responsible for core and shell construction of the building, which began on April 14, 2007, and will be substantially completed on February 25, 2009. Tenants leasing portions of the building will be able to tailor their tenant finish requirements once retail space is available.
Deconstruction of the prior postal annex building involved recycling of railroad materials, concrete, footings, walls, and metal. The new construction involves recycling of steel, rebar, excess concrete, excess wood, and comingled materials such as aluminum and cardboard. Holder Construction maintains a contract with U.S. Continental to collect materials from the onsite dumpsters and distribute them to local markets. U.S. Continental conducts weekly telephone calls to search for available commodity markets with storage and processing capacity. Because markets are changing constantly and recyclers have processing and storage capacities, it is a necessity to manage the materials on a weekly and continuous basis. Concrete is being managed for recycling and reuse by Recycled Materials Company, Inc. (RMCI). Holder's recycler for drywall went out of business in June, and it has been challenging to find a replacement locally. Holder located a drywall recycler in Greeley. However, after an assessment of the environmental benefits to recycle/compost the drywall versus the environmental impacts from excess fuel usage and vehicle emissions to travel back and forth to Greeley for pick-up and drop-off, Holder decided not to recycle the drywall.
As of November 20, 2008, 56,850 tons of materials have been diverted from landfills. The factors that have ensured 98% diversion include:
- mandating recycling of materials in subcontracts and established financial liability if not adhered to (enforcement through fines);
- continued education by reiterating diversion practices to subcontractors during weekly meetings;
- labeling dumpsters in English and Spanish;
- designating the use of materials with recycled content (e.g. steel) during the design process;
- providing employee incentives such as gift cards, hand tools, and a luncheon every six weeks for sustainable construction practices;
- designating one employee to provide end-of-day dumpster sorting of materials to ensure proper separation; and
- Denver Parks & Recreation Department granting additional lot space to house dumpsters for material collection.
The greatest challenge to recycling C&D materials for this project has been site logistics. The factors that made the greatest difference in being able to accomplish such a high diversion rate for this project were the city providing space for construction waste material diversion, and having a designated employee to ensure proper sorting practices on a daily basis.
Holder Construction conducts a life cycle analysis (LCA) for each project to realize economic benefits for sustainable practices. Following the LCA, Holder works through the design process with the site architect. Other sustainable practices implemented at the project site include: recycled content carpets, recycled content steel (average 98% recycled steel content), fly ash-containing concrete in a number of mixes (average 20% fly ash content), provision of bike spaces and changing rooms containing showers, and proximity to mass transit. The overall recycled content of all materials for the core and shell of the building is 30%.
We Want To Promote Your Project!
Recognizing that success fosters success, we are interested in helping you recycle your C&D materials and in documenting and promoting ongoing or recent construction projects in which recycled industrial materials are used. Please contact your regional contact below.
For more information on C&D materials management in Region 8, contact:
Kendra Morrison , U.S. EPA Region 8, Solid & Hazardous Waste Program
State and Tribal Links
This section contains additional information on C&D materials management for the states and tribes in Region 8:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division
Colorado Asbestos Compliance Bulletin (PDF, 3 pp., 45 KB)
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Asbestos website
North Dakota Department of Health, Environmental Health Section, Division of Waste Management
Asbestos Control Program for information on asbestos requirements during building demolition and renovation projects.
Wood Processing/Recycling Facilities (PDF, 2 pp., 176 KB)
Wood Waste Information (PDF, 1 pp., 59 KB)
Scrap Metal and Auto Recyclers List (PDF, 7 pp., 187 KB)
South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Waste Management Program
Asbestos Guidelines for Building Demolitions and/or Renovations
Asbestos Demolition/Renovation Notification Form (PDF, 3 pp., 158 KB)
For more information about C&D materials management, visit the Region 8 Tribal Assistance Program which includes contact information and other resources.