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Reducing the environmental impact of C&D

28 October 2019

Recycling has become a more prevalent topic of discussion over the last few years with a growing number of businesses and companies, not to mention entire industries, making much bigger efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste.

Construction and demolition (C&D) businesses that make attempts to reuse parts of the existing building are finding that it can effectively reduce the cost of acquiring new materials, which in turn lessens the amount of waste that goes into landfill and reduces the overall cost of the construction. 

Essentially, recycling building materials is not only good for the environment; it’s good for business.

Why recycle?

Building construction uses 30-50% of raw materials worldwide [1], placing significant burden on decreasing resources. If we’re not careful, these reserves will one day run out.

Incorporating recycling as part of the C&D phase means that any existing materials that can essentially be reused or repurposed are pulled out for use at other sites or left in place to reuse at the existing site. Recycling and reusing helps to conserve the planet’s natural resources as it reduces the need for new virgin materials.

If the demand for raw material was reduced this would help stop a large amount of forestation being destroyed in the search for natural resources. Recycling can help slow the rate at which we pillage the earth for materials.

Giving careful consideration to the building materials we use and reuse will hopefully go some way to protecting those limited resources and reducing the environmental impact of C&D work.

Here's what you can do to help:

  • Make efforts of assess the viability of reusing existing materials
  • Consider reusing existing materials in a revised or renewed state (e.g. Aggregate)
  • Consider disassembling rather than demolishing composite materials such as roof structures and façade to increase their likelihood of being reused

Benefits of recycling

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycling helps to:

  • Reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and combustion facilities
  • Conserve natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
  • Prevent pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
  • Save energy
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
  • Sustain the environment for future generations

For C&D businesses recycling can be beneficial for both the business and the environment. Efforts to recycle can help protect the world’s natural resources, bringing a positive impact in the environment. Recycling also satisfies the need of the growing number of environmentally conscious customers.

1. http://www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/IgnitionSuite/uploads/docs/Fact%20Sheet%205%20Building%20Materials.pdf

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