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Get an Insight into the Recycling of Construction Waste

4 Mins read

Construction waste recycling plays an important role in keeping the landfills free from debris and ensuring a clean environment. It is a process that caters to the separation of materials that can be recovered and reused for various other purposes.  This is, however, possible only if the recycling is done in a timely and efficient manner.

Construction waste produced from different types of construction activities like construction, renovation, remodeling, and demolition is hazardous to the environment and even human health. However, the quantity and the quality of the materials considered as construction waste purely depend on the type of construction project and of course the types of materials used for the process. Whatever the quality and quantity, the dangers and threats it poses cannot be denied. For this reason, it becomes very important for construction companies and industries to find suitable and eco-friendly ways to discard waste.

Let us further get into understanding the different types of wastes, types of construction waste recycling, importance of recycling, and important tips for construction waste management

Types of Construction Wastes

The most important types of construction waste and their respective recycling strategies are:

  • Brick: Brick wastes are mainly generated during demolition and can be recycled by crushing.
  • Concrete: The type of waste is generated during demolition activities or when testing the samples for use in construction projects. Concrete wastes can be recycled using crushed concrete aggregate. 
  • Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metal: There are many ferrous and non-ferrous metals generated during construction. All these metals can be easily recycled and generate high value when recycled and reused in various industries. 
  • Masonry: Masonry wastes are also produced during demolition and can be easily recycled as aggregate in clay bricks and thermal insulating concrete. 
  • Paper and Cardboard: Wastes from paper and paper board is known to the highest produced wastes during construction and demolition. These can be easily recycled to come up with meaningful paper products. 
  • Timber: Timber waste is generated during construction and demolition. Debris from these wastes can be easily recycled and reused after a thorough cleaning and sizing. 

Process of Recycling Construction Wastes

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The process of recycling is simple and effective if designed and implemented wisely. Most of the construction companies do a meticulous planning before actually breaking the ground for constructing a project.  It process to be a wiser way to counter risk and provide a healthier way to move forward. Some companies place the concrete and other debris into dumpsters or recycling bins placed in close proximity of the construction site. This ensures a smoother recycling while the construction or demolition activities are accomplished.  For this activity, many companies rely on dumpster rental services for affordable construction waste management. Adding to this, the common ways of waste recycling are:

  • Site-Separated Recycling: This is a type of waste recycling that includes separating the construction waste in different containers on the job site itself. This in turn, significantly contributes to creating a human-friendly environment.
  • Commingled Recycling: This type includes gathering all wastes in one container from where the hauler further does the separation. This is an appropriate process when the space on the construction site is less.
  • Hybrid Recycling: This type of recycling includes both the site-separated and commingled type of separation and recycling with a view to optimize the effort required for sorting materials based on weight and volume. 

Importance of Recycling

There are many advantages of recycling construction wastes. Some of the key benefits are:

  • Recycling dramatically saves the cost of construction. Construction requires a massive quantity of building materials in high quality and durability. This in turn incurs heavy cost. However, when recycled materials are put to use for construction, the strength and durability of a building can be assured with limited expenses. 
  • Waste management helps conserves energy. Many of the construction wastes like concrete and asphalt are used as sources of energy that helps in execution of various tasks. Hence, when these materials are recycled and put to reuse, it can be used as reliable sources of energy.
  • Construction waste management helps minimize wastes and debris in landfills.  By recycling the wastes it becomes economical to put forth the process of disposing the construction waste in an environmental-friendly manner. 
  • When recycling of construction waste is done, it generates new products and new opportunities to sell those recycled products. There are many innovative ways to create products using recycled and repacked waste materials. 

Barriers to Construction Waste Recycling

There are many barriers to construction waste recycling that hampers the environmental performance during the construction or demolition process. however, when handled effectively with expertise and knowledge, each barrier can turn to an active performance. Some of the known barriers are:

  • A deficient infrastructure of the construction industry
  • Lack of technology know-how to bring waste materials to useful ends
  • Inappropriate location of recycling facilities
  • Lack of knowledge and awareness concerning recycling
  • Lack of confidence and assurance in materials that are recycled
  • Lack of markets for accepting the recycled and repackaged products

Essential Tips for Construction Waste Management

Now, when we have gone through the basics of construction waste recycling, here are some of the important tips to handle the process in a more responsible and efficient manner:

  • Always work to minimize waste by assuring a thoughtful selection of construction materials.
  • Make sure to have a wise separation and segregation of construction waste materials. 
  • Wherever possible, reuse materials like doors and windows that are in good condition.
  • Ensure to dispose of all the materials that cannot be recycled or reused.
  • Have a focused deconstruction or demolition to avoid heavy pollution and minimize waste.
  • Use durable materials to have structurally sound buildings as these have maximum recovery potential.

The Bottom Line

Economy, compatibility, and material properties are the three pillars of recycling construction wastes. Keeping in mind these three important pillars, engineers, and construction companies should work towards achieving sustainable buildings in a safe and eco-friendly atmosphere. Recycling infused with the generation of new products and cost-effectiveness should be the goal of each company and everyone should collaboratively work towards this accomplishment.

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