As someone who's in the construction business, you know that any construction project results in additional waste to the Earth. However, you also know that sustainable building practices are not just a passing trend, especially today's growing global warming crisis. Over 30 cities, including Denver, Sacramento, and Atlanta, now require new buildings of a specific size to comply with LEED standards. With more cities now adopting similar regulations for new construction, construction companies must face the challenge of keeping up. Fortunately, sustainable building practices don't only pertain to better, more energy-efficient buildings. Another way is minimizing waste on construction sites.
When undertaking construction projects, one might immediately assume that waste is everything no one wants anymore. However, this is not always the case. You can use the trash created in construction sites as raw material for the next build you will do. To remain profitable, take a look at these tips on reducing waste disposal during a construction job.
1. Plan accordingly before starting the project.
If you want a building project to be sustainable, you should be able to plan appropriately. There's a significant percentage of construction site waste that's generated simply by inefficient purchasing. The simple rule is that having lesser garbage means you will also be spending less. Don't take into account trending buying practices just to join the bandwagon on what's hot. Instead, always take the time to purchase your specific needs for each project.
2. Your construction site should stay organized.
Did you know a simple organization can make a fantastic difference? You may be able to cut down on confusion and make the construction site more efficient if you group your recyclable and salvageable materials, saving on costs instead of spending them on re-doing work or sorting out materials.
3. Choose vendors and suppliers wisely.
If you want to achieve the sustainability goals for your construction project, you need to choose vendors who will support such goals. Vendors who can handle the scale of the project without slowing you down is vital. Additionally, some vendors can offer a single-stream recycling option, so you won't have to worry about recycling any pre-sorting of materials. Although this can be a pricier option at the start, it will save you and the team a lot of time while helping you achieve the sustainability goals more efficiently. Take the time to shop around with various vendors to ensure you find someone who can help meet your goal-specific needs.
4. Reuse and recycle salvageable materials.
You can always recycle materials on any given construction site such as metal, paper, plastics, cardboard, window glass, unpainted and unstained wood. Furthermore, you can also use gravel, concrete, and other aggregates for backfilling instead of purchasing more dirt. During the finishing stages of a project, you can also use drywall as patching material. You can also sell the materials you don't use to suppliers, reduce packing materials, and look for better ways of storing materials to prevent damage.
5. Track the project progress.
All your hard work in reducing waste management will be meaningless if you won't keep track of your progress. Measuring how much waste you create and how much is recycled will be essential in tracking your landfill diversion rates. Regularly checking progress is also necessary. You can't have waste and recycling programs throughout half of your project and then expect them to change. Always pay attention throughout the progress of your project, and be sure to make adjustments when needed.
6. Implement proper storage of materials.
When working on a project, it is likewise to protect your materials. We recommend storing lumber on level blocking to minimize their damage. You can also cover and stack bricks, as well as another masonry. Always remember to keep your products in a secure location.
7. Don't hesitate to try out new building methods.
In some construction waste management strategies, using durable modular metal form systems when it comes to concrete construction instead of using plywood and lumber formwork works better. Metal forms can be taken apart and used as many times as needed.
8. Choose building products that have minimal packaging.
When you're purchasing building materials and equipment such as doors, windows, floor tiles, access doors, and panels, you're also paying for their packaging. However, once you use them up, you also have to pay to dispose of the same packaging. It is recommended you look for products that are safely but minimally wrapped.
9. Communicate and work with your suppliers.
One way of reducing waste disposal involves your suppliers. You can ask them to deliver the materials on returnable pallets. They will be able to pick up the pallets whenever they have to make further deliveries when the project is over. Another way is to check whether they buy back any products you won't be using. We all know that the wrong way of disposing materials is terrible for the environment; do yourself and the Earth a favor by reducing your construction waste with this kind of option.
10. Opt for deconstruction instead of demolition.
Instead of demolition, there is deconstruction as an alternative. As stated by the U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC), this process is known for being a reuse strategy. Deconstruction is the process of selectively disassembling a building piece by piece to preserve materials and eliminate waste. The salvaged materials are now reusable and transformed into valuable resources, making them available for selling to future construction projects. On the other hand, standard demolition uses deconstruction's process of removing the reusable, high-valued materials. But the main distinction between these two is there is a lesser chance of recovering reusable materials in demolition. That's why opting for deconstruction before demolition not only benefits the environment but also helps in aiding public health care by reducing toxic airborne pollutants that are related to demolition.
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