4 Common Questions About Material Recovery In Demolition

Sorted stacks of brick

Any demolition project will produce some type of debris. Being able to identify which materials can be reused and recycled can have a significant on the budget of a project, however. Concrete, glass windows, steel, drywall, plumbing fixtures, tile and more can all be recovered with varying levels of labor and planning. Here are some common questions about material recovery on demolition sites and the answers provided by the EPA.
  • How do you determine what is or isn't recyclable or reusable? 
After working in demolition for years and on a variety of different projects, as we have at Demolition Technologies, you develop an understanding of materials that are both able to be recycled or reused, and will be beneficial to the overall project and budget. When first starting out, however, research goes a long way. Talking to established demolition contractors can give you insight and direction. You could also contract with a materials recovery company or hire a consultant who handles the recycling part of a project for you. By working with them, you start to learn more about this process.
  • How do you get your crew on board with recycling? 
Because material recovery requires detailed planning and execution, it's important that your crew be properly educated. Communication between the crew, contractor and site owner can also be helpful when putting a plan in place and finding new opportunities. As with anything, if you're having trouble getting a crew excited about recycling, it helps to incentivize it. When they stand to personally benefit from the additional processes, they'll become much more willing to learn and commit to them.
  • How can demolition without material recovery be prevented?
For communities around the demolition site, it may be important that proper material recovery processes are used in order to leave a site cleaner and prevent debris from taking up space in the local landfill. In some areas, proper material recovery is part of the permitting process. Local ordinances can also be passed to require recycling and reuse to be part of demolition projects. Portland, Oregon has had such an ordinance in place for nearly 20 years.
  • Does material recovery cause costs to increase?
At first glance, knowing that salvage and recycling efforts require more labor than simple disposal, it would seem that the cost of the project would be higher with those processes in place. When you factor in the costs you avoid, however, this often isn't the case. The transportation and disposal costs and landfill fees can all be avoided completely or minimized with proper recycling on site. Additionally, the materials recovered offer their own value and can either be reused in another project or sold.At Demolition Technologies, we pride ourselves on environmental awareness. Contact us to learn about our environmental stewardship and green processes used on each project.