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With any remodeling job these days, “greener” is better.


Homeowners are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption, incorporate green products, and sometimes even “repurpose” existing design elements. Considering that any given remodeling job can potentially generate more waste than a household generates in a year, C&D (construction and demolition) waste presents another opportunity to make a greener remodeling project.

Some of the ways to reduce waste are going to take extra time and effort, but a little advance planning can help minimize the investment needed, and even generate cost savings. If you’re a homeowner, you can ask your contractor about their waste reduction strategies. And if you’re a contractor, you may find that a business can differentiate itself from the competition by minimizing construction waste.

What are some of the ways a remodeler can reduce C&D waste?

Reduce materials

When planning a remodel, you can reduce waste by planning rooms, ceiling heights, or openings in two foot increments (to reduce odd-sized pieces). If you keep in mind standard lengths of other materials like ducts, pipe, and siding, you can efficiently use materials as well, ending up with less waste.

Reuse wherever possible

Some contractors stockpile scrap wood, and reuse it for shims or drywall backing. Drywall pieces can be used for small patches and holes.

Recycle packaging

New construction materials are sometimes delivered in recyclable cardboard packaging. Even packaging (like pallets and corrugated cardboard) can be separated and recycled. On large projects, a roll-off container can be used to collect large quantities of loose cardboard, which may even have value to a recycler.

Sort salvage materials onsite

Although it may add time to the project, sorting materials onsite is usually the most effective way to make sure C&D waste can be recycled. Materials like concrete, brick, wood, asphalt may all be recyclable when separated from the waste stream. Metals like aluminum and steel are imminently recyclable, so it’s worth saving even small siding scraps for recycling. For some projects and areas, a C&D recycling service may be available to help handle the sorting and disposal.

Communicate your priorities

Reducing waste takes extra effort. It may require some encouragement to make sure everyone (general contractor, subcontractors, and every worker) understands and follows the steps needed to reduce waste.

Every remodeling project presents an opportunity to make a real difference in the environment. Reducing waste may take some extra planning, research, and commitment, but can yield homeowner satisfaction and cost savings as well.