Reducing Renovation Waste is Easy and Economical - July 31st 2008


Reducing Renovation Waste is Easy and Economical

Waste from renovation projects varies in its makeup depending on the type and extent of the renovation project. However almost always you will have a demolition waste component and construction waste component. The demolition phase is where most of the waste is generated but with some planning much of the waste can be diverted from disposal or even avoided in the first place.

1- Look at what you can reuse before deciding to replace it. Do you need to replace this cabinet? Or change this tub? It probably just needs resurfacing or a coat of paint. Think about what can be reused before you decide to replace it. A coat of paint and updated hardware will most likely achieve the results.

2- Compile an inventory of materials that will be generated from your project. Walk through your project and create a list of all materials and determine how you will deal with them; salvage for reuse, recycling or disposal. Consult a salvage contractor about what can be salvaged from your project before you begin demolition.

3- Health and safety. Make sure you develop a plan on how you will deal with hazardous substances in your home before you begin work. Older homes contain substances that could pose health risks to workers and home occupants when you are doing construction work. Some examples of hazardous materials commonly found in building renovation projects include:

-
Abandoned chemicals such as solvents, paints, pesticides and gasoline.
- Mercury switches
- Materials banned from disposal at local transfer stations and landfills.


In Metro Vancouver the following materials are banned from landfills and other waste disposal facilities. A surcharge of 50 % will be applied to the tipping fee, $68 / metric tonne, for waste loads delivered to Metro Vancouver disposal facilities found to contain:

- Corrugated cardboard
- Newsprint
- Office paper
- Gypsum drywall
- Blue box recyclables (including glass, metal and plastic type 1, 2, 4 & 5 containers)
- Yard trimmings
- Product Stewardship (Take Back) Program materials including:
- Paints, solvents, flammable liquids, gasoline and pesticides
- Refundable beverage containers except milk and milk products
- Lead-acid (car) batteries
- Medications, pharmaceuticals
- Tires
- Oil, oil filters and empty oil containers
- Electronic waste including personal computers and printers, televisions, and keyboards


4- Get organized!

- Have bins or boxes before you start your project to separate your waste as you go. Whether you decide to haul the waste yourself or hire a waste hauler, separating waste from the get-go will make your hauling arrangement easier and cheaper because everything is source separated.

- Think about where you will store your materials until it is hauled away. Try to arrange materials by destination and type;
- salvageable materials, such as cabinets, flooring, doors, going to reuse stores, or being sold through
- recyclable materials, such as drywall, wood, cardboard and metals going to recycling depots
- And waste going to the transfer station


Make sure it is stored in a covered area to prevent wetness. Materials destined for recycling and/or salvage need to be dry or it might be rejected at the depot and end up as garbage.

- Directories (will insert here directory of depots, used building materials stores and waste haulers)


5- Incorporate used and greener building materials in your project. An effective way to reduce construction waste is to use salvaged building materials or materials containing recycled content in your design.


6- During the construction phase it is easier to deal with the waste because it is cleaner. You usually generate one or two types of waste during each phase of construction i.e. drywall scraps are generated when drywall goes up, wood scraps during framing, etc. However you generate smaller volumes over the period of construction. Sometimes the volumes are too small to haul to recycling and disposal facilities. So ensure that you have bins set up to collect the different materials and these bins are stored in a dry covered area until they are hauled away.