Disaster Clean-Up: Common Forms Of Waste Encountered

Debris following natural disaster

When a natural disaster, like a tornado, earthquake or flooding, occurs, demolition contractors are often called on to help with the clean-up of debris. Our unique skill set qualifies us to properly dispose of materials and demolish structures that are no longer safe. Because of the nature of these disasters, there are dangerous materials spread into the environment and in places you wouldn't normally expect to find them. These are similar materials that experienced demolition teams work with on any project, however. Here are a few of the typical forms of waste and debris that need to be mitigated after natural disasters.
  • Appliances
In a typical demolition job, appliances would be removed well before demolition work began, either by the site owner, or by our crews during preliminary phases of the project. There's no such luxury or planning opportunities in a natural disaster, however. And, many appliances found in a typical home or office setting contain hazardous materials like refrigerants, mercury, and PCB capacitors. For that reason, appliances need to be removed from the rubble and demanufactured, with these hazardous materials removed and disposed of responsibly. Once that's done, metal from the appliances can be recycled.
  • Asbestos
Again, a typical demolition job would identify asbestos well before demolition and safely remove it from a structure. In a natural disaster clean-up effort, asbestos containing materials like siding, flooring, roofing and insulation can be found anywhere throughout the disaster area. Clean-up crews need to be properly trained to both identify asbestos containing materials and to properly handle and dispose of them safely.
  • Electronics
Items such as computers, printers, televisions, smartphones, digital cameras, mp3 players and electronic games can pose a threat to human health and to the environment due to the hazardous materials they contain. Often referred to as e-waste, or brown goods, electronic equipment is another example of debris that complicated clean-up efforts after a disaster. Typically, the best option is to collect any e-waste and transport it to a nearby facility that's permitted and licensed to dispose of it properly.
  • Clean waste
Not all debris in a natural disaster contains hazardous materials. Some is considered clean, which it's unpainted, untreated and free from contamination from chemicals like petroleum. The only real concern with clean waste is that it's disposed of so it doesn't impact the local environment including surface waters, wetlands or flood plains. Clean waste presents an opportunity to reuse and recycle waste generated from a natural disaster. Brick, building stone, concrete, asphalt, and untreated wood, including wood from downed trees, is all considered clean waste. Wood can be composted, chipped or used as firewood. Brick, stone, concrete and asphalt can all be reused in other building projects, which could help the recovery process.Experienced demolition contractors are vital for a variety of services. To find out more about our capabilities at Demolition Technologies, contact us at 918-379-0966.