Reduce Construction Waste

Sep 16, 2020 | Sustainable Spotlight

An estimated 251 million tons of construction waste is accumulated annually in the United States alone, which shows us just how important it is to reduce construction waste. Less than a third of that waste is recycled or composted, and up to 40% is from the production of unused materials. Reducing waste disposal benefits the environment and your business. By reducing your waste, less is going to landfills, you are using fewer natural resources, there is a lower risk of pollutant incidents, and lower CO2 emissions from producing, using, and transporting waste. For many construction companies, these simple steps allow employees to work more efficiently, cut costs by using fewer materials, and could get your company more business, as many clients favor ‘green’ businesses or companies that have a sustainable approach.

Plan Ahead & Recycle

Planning is key when it comes to reducing the amount of waste your company produces. Calculate the exact quantities of materials you need for each project, and only order what you will use. This will reduce waste drastically. Provide recycling, compost, and waste bins on the job site or find a Construction and Demolition (C&D) recycler here. Educate your employees on how to sort the “waste”. Materials that are accepted in C&D recyclers are asphalt, cardboard, concrete, construction waste, demolition debris, gypsum/drywall, land-clearing, mattresses, metals, mixed construction & demolition debris, plastics (rigid), roofing shingles, and wood waste.

Research your Vendors/Subcontractors

It is important to research your vendors/subcontractors. By finding vendors/subcontractors who are going to assist you in achieving your goal of having minimum waste, a little research can help you choose vendors who are going to produce the best results in a timely manner while minimizing their waste.

Deconstruct When Possible
Deconstruct instead of demolishing when possible. If you are able to, deconstruct in a way that allows you to save as much as possible to be reused or recycled. Non-profits such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, Mel Trotter, and other organizations are always taking appliances, doors, fixtures, hardware, etc. You can donate recovered materials and you can use it as a tax write-off! Not only are you giving back to your community, but sustainability and donations are also often recognized by the media, which is always good exposure for your business.


Organizing is the key to reducing waste. How many times have you lost a product and reordered it only to later find the original product? Assign two or three employees to organize the job site when you arrive. If more people know where the products are, it is less likely one will be lost or forgotten about. Create an inventory of the products you have and keep a running total. This makes it easier when it comes to ordering more material.

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