Construction Waste Reduction and

Waste Reduction and
Fact Sheet
Prevention waste, reusing materials, and recycling waste at a construction/demolition (C&D)
site can be accomplished with some pre-planning and by incorporating waste reduction
into work practices. This factsheet is intended to provide the construction industry with
suggestions for controlling waste before and during construction. The factsheet also
identifies what materials can be recycled and where in the Mecklenburg County area.
Cost Savings - Waste reduction techniques encourage reuse of materials/supplies rather than
buying new; reducing waste lowers disposal service costs.
Efficiency - If materials are wasted on the job, you pay twice: for purchase and for disposal.
Knowing what is being discarded can tell a lot about how efficiently your crews and
subcontractors are using materials that affect your bottom line.
Positive Public Image - The public appreciates and patronizes businesses that make efforts to
reduce waste.
Free Publicity - Join Mecklenburg County’s Wipe Out Waste Business Recognition Program
and receive free publicity in local media.
√ Check the boxes that apply to your business.
Before the job begins
□ Request building designs from your architect that use standard material sizes
□ Request plans specifying materials that create less waste on site; for example, pre-cast concrete
panels rather than block or brick walls
□ Use “supply and install” subcontracts to provide an incentive to maximize efficient use of material
□ Make subcontractors responsible for their own waste disposal to provide an incentive for
minimizing waste and require recycling
□ Purchase less toxic materials when possible
□ Ask suppliers to remove packaging before shipping materials to your site, to wrap materials
in reusable padding, or take back the packaging after delivery
□ If working at a existing commercial site with a recycling program, ask that your recyclables be
added to their program
□ For materials designated as recyclable, ask manufacturers to provide product
descriptions/specification to facilitate identifying recycling markets
□ Purchase building materials made from recycled-content, such as ceiling tiles, carpets, floor tiles,
and wallboard
□ Fence a small area for disposing waste and use a hauler to manually or mechanically remove
the waste, rather than built-in-place forms
At the job site
□ Reduce one-se items where possible; for example, use reusable forming systems for
pouring concrete rather than built-in-place forms
□ Use leftover or damaged fiberglass insulation in the attic space
□ Crush leftover masonry materials and use as inert fill or bedding for walkways and driveways
□ Cut up joist off-cuts and use as stakes for concrete forms or for headers around openings
in the floor assembly
Business Recycling Info Line: 704-432-3200
Mecklenburg County Business & Commercial Recycling Source Separation Ordinance
Waste Reduction and
Fact Sheet
□ Use leftover rigid insulation as ventilation baffles in attics and at joist header assemblies
in the envelopes of houses; larger pieces can be used under concrete floors
□ Store unused supplies and materials for future jobs
□ Sell or donate salvageable materials such as decorative woodwork, metal tanks, fixtures,
doors, windows, etc
□ Sell or donate cosmetically-damaged finish products
□ Practice preventive maintenance on equipment to prolong the service life
□ Collect scrap lumber, metals, cardboard, gypsum drywall, rubble, glass, pipe, and insulated
wire of recycling
1. Plan a source separation strategy and identify local recycling outlets that meet your needs –
Identify types of wastes and estimate quantities that will be generated. For waste types of sufficient
quantities: 1) identify recycling outlet, 2) arrange for appropriate segregation at the job site, using
containers or other means, and 3) arrange for hauling. For example, segregated gypsum board can
be discarded through a recycler at a lower tipping fee than the Construction & Demolition (C&D)
recycling facility or landfill. If sufficient quantities are expected, recycling is a cost-effective option
because it offsets the expense of a separate container and hauling to a different location. For
demolition or renovation jobs, consider having salvageable items removed for secondary market
slaed or donations to non-profit organization.
2. Set up recycle containers or areas at the job site – Designate a specific location on the job site
for each recycle container or and require that the container be returned to its designated location
after emptying. Or, instead of containers, designate and delineate material recovery areas. Explain
to site workers and subcontractors how waste and materials are to be segregated and where
various containers/areas are located. Label each container/area with large lettering on each side
stating types of acceptable materials that can be placed in the container/area. Note: Labels may
need to be multilingual.
3. Monitor recycle containers for contamination and need for emptying – Observe contents of
recycle containers to quickly identify and resolve contamination problems. For example, solid waste
containers may need to be placed nearby to minimize possible contamination of recycle containers.
Empty recycle containers as needed to ensure that overflow will not lead to contamination of other
recycle containers.
Making recycling convenient
• Integrate the separation and collection of recyclables into normal work routine.
• Sort recyclables the first time they are handled. For example, collect cardboard boxes for recycling
as soon as they are unpacked.
• Locate recycling containers in or near work areas where the recyclables are generated.
Minimize cost
• Practice waste reduction techniques to reduce the amount of waste that needs to be
disposed or recycled.
• Contact several recyclers, haulers, and “scrappers” (small companies offering site cleaning
and hauling services) for service that meets needs and negotiate the best price.
• Work with employees to maximize recyclable collection and reduce contamination.
Choose a recyclable handling method appropriate for both the job site and the selected
recycler and hauler (some options are described below)
• Segregate recyclable materials by using separate rented containers. Have waste
disposal/recycling company transport containers to recycling centers.
Business Recycling Info Line: 704-432-3200
Mecklenburg County Business & Commercial Recycling Source Separation Ordinance
Waste Reduction and
Fact Sheet
• Commingle waste and recyclables at job site and have them hauled and sorted by
waste disposal/recycling company facility. Those companies will then sell recovered
materials to recyclers, salvage companies, and used building material dealers.
• Commingle waste and recyclables at job site. Have “scrappers” hand sort and remove
recyclable materials for use or resale.
• Segregate selected excess or waste materials such as scrap metals, using containers
or a lay down yard to make materials available for resale to recyclers.
Tips to Motivate Site Workers and Subcontractors
Provide an incentive
• Use “supply and install” contracts to encourage efficient use of material
• Make subcontractors responsible for their own waste disposal
• Allow site workers to remove scrap materials for their own use or resale
Make it easy
• Set up containers or areas for each material to be segregated for recycling
• Label recycling containers or areas in large lettering on all sides
• Label recycling containers with acceptable materials using English and Spanish
• Locate recycling containers in or near work areas where specific recyclable
is generated
• Designate specific locations for each recycling container that remain constant
• Have containers or areas emptied when necessary
Ask for their feedback
• Seek site worker’ and subcontractors’ ideas for waste reduction and recycling
Business Recycling Info Line: 704-432-3200
Mecklenburg County Business & Commercial Recycling Source Separation Ordinance