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April 16, 2014  |  Login
Reduce Construction Waste in Your Home Remodel
By Eric Corey Freed
 

The construction of a typical new home produces enough waste to fill one of the bedrooms of that home, nearly 8,000 pounds of waste. In addition, Americans remodel about half a million square feet of existing space each year. This adds up, and construction waste is responsible for some 35% to 45% of what ends up in U.S. landfills.

In order to combat the issue of construction waste, many cities are now requiring that a certain percentage of that waste be recycled before it ends up in the landfill. With waste-disposal costs rising steadily throughout the country, many builders have begun to view their debris as something to be managed rather than simply thrown away. In fact, a construction waste-management plan can provide both short-term and long-term payoffs. Disposal is a relatively small portion of the construction budget — only about 0.5% of the cost of the typical home. But with the average builder earning a 5% profit margin, this small improvement can make a large difference.

Although hauling waste to the landfill may seem like the path of least resistance, managing your construction waste is easier than you think. Instead of throwing everything into a large dumpster, group debris into neatly organized piles. Not only will this make recycling easier, but these scraps will be reused during construction.

Because wood constitutes nearly 50% of construction waste, a separate pile for wood will be put to good use. Other suggested recycling piles include piles for drywall and metals. Any and all fixtures and appliances are easily recycled or sold. Look for opportunities to reuse materials when possible. Here’s a breakdown of the construction waste for a typical 2,000-square-foot home.

 

Material

Weight (in Pounds)

Volume (in Cubic Yards)

Solid wood

1,600

6

Engineered wood

1,400

5

Drywall

2,000

5

Cardboard

600

20

Metals

150

1

Vinyl (PVC)

150

1

Masonry

1,000

1

Containers from paints, caulks, adhesives, and so on

50

-

Other

1,050

11

TOTAL

8,000

50

 

 
 

 

 
 
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