Construction projects generate a lot of waste, which can be difficult to manage properly. If not handled correctly, this waste can create environmental and safety hazards.
When it comes to waste management, there are a lot of things to consider. From sorting materials to disposing of them properly, you need to have a plan in place so that your project doesn’t become cluttered and create an environmental disaster.
However, it can be tough to know where to start with so much to think about. So here are some tips to help get you started.
One of the best ways to manage construction waste is to plan for it. This means knowing what types of materials you’ll be using and what you can do with them after they’re no longer needed. Things like building supplies, flooring, and other items need to be salvaged and recycled because even though they may be functional now, they can quickly become useless once the job is done.
Planning also means knowing how you’ll be getting rid of things like liquids and other hazardous materials that require special disposal.
Consider Partnering with a Waste Disposal Company
If you don’t have time to deal with your waste, it can be easier to find a company that will do this for you. Many companies offer plenty of options when it comes to dumpsters and other ways of collecting on-site waste.
You can even get a dumpster and portable toilet combo, making it easy to save time and money by ordering both from the same company, like redbox+. This is great for large scale projects because it increases employee satisfaction and productivity.
Think About Reusing
One of the best ways to manage construction waste is to try and reuse as many things as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to use every last piece of wood or other product, but there may be a way to utilize it in another part of the job site. In addition, finding new uses for old items helps keep things out of landfills, reducing the materials you’ll need to dispose of.
Construction and demolition materials are a big part of total waste. In fact, the US produced some 600 million tons of C&D debris in 2018 alone.
These materials include concrete, wood, bricks, glass, and salvaged doors and windows. Finding a way to reuse can make a significant difference.
Identify What’s Recyclable
You may not be able to reuse certain things, but that doesn’t mean you have to just throw them away. In fact, a lot of items can be recycled instead. For example, metal and wood scraps can often be turned into new building materials or sold on the open market for a profit.
Other recyclable materials examples include plastics, glass, paper, and cardboard. Find out where you can recycle these things to avoid just throwing them into the trash.
Place Recycling Containers On-Site
In order to recycle as much waste as possible, it helps to have recycling containers throughout the job site. This way, it’s easy for you and your crew to put things into their proper place. You can even consider labeling each container with what materials are allowed inside so that everyone knows what needs to be sorted properly.
There are several ways you can recycle some of the most common construction materials. For example, wood decking can be recycled into mulch or planters, while carpet tiles are often turned into new flooring, insulation material for homes, and more. Even leftover concrete can have a new life as asphalt or cement blocks.
In many cases, you may not be able to reuse or recycle certain items. If this is the case, consider donating them instead of throwing them away. You can give some things away to people in need, and other materials may be suitable for local charities and non-profit organizations that may want them. These groups often love getting donations of things like salvaged doors, windows, tiles, and plumbing fixtures.
Make Use of the Scraps
After the project is done, there may be a lot of materials left over, especially if you didn’t plan ahead for them. However, you can still use them in the future. For example, small scraps of building supplies and flooring can often be used as filler material somewhere else or to patch up holes that need fixing.
One of the worst kinds of waste for construction projects comes in the form of packaging materials. For example, boxes need to be broken down and thrown away, while things like plastic wrap can often just end up on the ground. Whenever possible, try to use items that don’t require so much packaging or find ways to pack things together without adding any extra materials.
Be Careful With Hazardous Waste
Even though you may take recycling and reuse into account, there are still some materials that aren’t safe to place in the trash. These types of waste include hazardous chemicals like gasoline, cleaners, oils, etc.
The same goes for treated wood and mercury-containing devices like thermometers and thermostats. You’ll need to contact your local sanitation department or take these things to a facility that can properly deal with them.
Organize your Construction Site
One of the best things to reduce waste is to organize your site properly. For example, mark off designated areas for different types of materials so that it’s easy to sort and find anything you may need. This reduces the chance that items will be thrown out by accident and gives everyone a clear idea of where everything should go when it’s time to clear the site.
As a general rule, if you’re not sure what to do with an item, see if you can donate it, recycle it, repurpose it, or throw it away. These four things should cover everything and make sure your site is as clean as possible.
Some of these things are more complicated than others, but even a little effort can get you far in keeping your site clean.
If you need help coming up with a waste management plan for your construction project or have any other questions about ways to reduce garbage on your site, consider partnering with a company specializing in waste management.