Recycling Demolition Waste – What it does to the Environment

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Recycling Demolition Waste – What it does to the Environment

demolition waste

Watching a building, or structure, come crashing down due to a planned demolition can be an impressive sight. The precision and planning behind a demolition is almost as equally impressive. However, there’s a part of this process that’s often forgotten or overlooked and that’s the clean-up. The debris, waste and building materials caused by the demolition must be removed and disposed of in a safe and efficient manner.

This removal/disposal process has recently become a major niche in the construction and demolition industry due to the financial gains that can be made. Additionally, the removal/disposal process of demolition waste has become a major priority among local governments in effort to protect the environment.

For the most part, the global industry has made a major effort to recycle as much of the debris and waste as possible. Countries from Australia to America have formed entities and legislations to help monitor, establish and regulate recycled wastes caused by construction and demolition companies.

Reasons for Recycling

There are many reasons for recycling construction and demolition waste. Perhaps the biggest reasons are: environmental impact, less expensive than dumping into a landfill and companies can get some money in return for recycling materials. In fact, in places like Australia, the demand for recycled and recovered demolition material has become a booming industry. In some countries like America, nearly 85 per cent of all demolition waste is recycled which translates into over a 1/2 million tons of waste.

Environmental Impact

Perhaps the most significant reasons for recycling anything is to protect and preserve the environment. Recycling construction and demolition waste can make a significant impact on the environment and the local economy in many ways. Depending on the type of demolition waste, there may be numerous environmental and economical benefits enjoyed by all.

The following is a list of demolition waste that can be recycled:

  • Masonry materials like: concrete, rock and bricks
  • Wood that can include painted or coated, as long as it’s non-hazardous
  • Scrap metal
  • Various types of drywall like plaster
  • Non-asbestos insulation
  • Metal materials like plumbing fixtures or piping
  • Other materials like: asphalt, glass and plastic

The following is a list of some major reasons why recycling demolition waste can help the environment:

  • Save landfill space – demolition waste can account for nearly one third of all the solid wastes in a landfill. By recycling this waste, you can save more landfill space, which can be used for things like household garbage.
  • Save natural material – using recycled demolition waste can help to preserve and save some of the earth’s precious materials like timber. This means less usage of natural items that may have a more finite supply.
  • Other reasons – Using recycled material for asphalt, pavement, streets and more will help cut down on the local economy’s budget. This could have an indirect impact on how the economy will spend tax money. For example, in California, the state has been shutting down hundreds of parks due to the inability to afford upkeep. Perhaps, recycling demolition waste can help cut down costs for highway construction, which means less tax money being spent on that, and spending more of it on the environment like protecting the parks and wildlife.

For more advice on the recycling process of demolition waste, talk to an expert in the industry.


Photo via flickr

Greener Ideal is an independent environmental news and lifestyle publication that has been curating content since 2008 to further the green movement. The views expressed by contributing authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.

  • MalikTous

    Put the NEKTAR album ‘Recycled’ in as background music.