Re-use and Recycling of Building Materials
Building and construction waste removal has become a very expensive part of the building industry, due to targets and taxes set by governments and agencies with regards the reduction of waste making its way to landfill sites across the country. Waste material can be generated during renovations, new construction and demolition of buildings, roads and other structural items. They include bricks, concrete, soil, masonry, rock, wood, paving material, glass, plastic, aluminium, tree stumps and much, much more. Some of these materials can be re-used or recycled while others are considered hazardous and need to be disposed of responsibly.
There are two ways a construction company can reduce their builders waste removal costs and that is by re-using and reprocessing materials on site or by purchasing recycled materials or products as opposed to using more expensive new items. There are also a few simple questions that need to be addressed. How will waste materials that cannot be re-used be stored until disposal or is there an outside agency that can make use of them? Is there adequate time for sourcing the appropriate materials and will there be enough available? Can any demolition or excavation materials be re-used on site?
Let's look at a few of the ways money can be saved by re-using and recycling building materials:
- Re-using excavation materials on site - Delivery of bulky materials, often from a great distance can be very expensive, especially when compared with the cost of re-using what is already available on site. Some of the ways this could be done are improving the soil quality by adding compost, stabilising soils with hydraulic binders or by ensuring the cut and fill balance is accurate.
- Processing material left after demolition on site - Equipment can be hired that will crush material into usable aggregates that can be applied for filling, capping, sub-base layers or hardscaping needs during the construction process.
- Purchasing recycled aggregates - it may be cost effective to purchase materials that have been recycled if there are not the facilities available on site to recycle.
- Remediating contaminated soil - it is often preferential and cost-saving to correct excavated soil rather than importing new and disposal of the old.
- Some of the most typical items that can be re-used are: plumbing fixtures, doors, cupboards, windows, air conditioning equipment, fireplaces and other stonework. Once cleaned up and retreated they can be given a new lease of life.
- Materials that can be recycled, either on site or off include metal, wood, asphalt, paving slabs, concrete, roofing materials, corrugated cardboard and plasterboard.
Recycling and reusing building materials not only provides a cost saving on building waste removal, for the construction company. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants by reducing the need for the extraction of raw materials and there is no need for shipping costs. It conserves the space in landfill sites. Because fewer raw materials are required energy is saved and environmental impacts reduced. New employment opportunities are created in recycling industries and money is saved by construction companies. All in all recycling and re-using building materials is win win all round.
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