Be wise with waste

May 23rd 2013
Be wise with waste

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.

Look at what you can reuse before deciding to replace it. Do you need to replace this cabinet? Or change this tub? It may just need resurfacing or a new liner. Think about what can be reused before you decide to replace it. A coat of paint and updated hardware can achieve the desired results.

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.

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: materials containing asbestos, underground residential heating oil storage tanks, lead based paint products, chemicals such as solvents, paints, pesticides and gasoline, and mercury switches such as thermostats. Be sure to confirm what materials may be banned from disposal at local transfer stations and landfills.

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 such as Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore locations. Materials sold by Habitat ReStores are usually donated from building supply stores, contractors, demolition crews or from individuals who wish to show their support for Habitat. In addition to raising funds, ReStores help the environment by rechanneling good, usable materials into use.
• Recyclable materials, such as drywall, wood, cardboard and metals going to recycling depots
• Waste going to the transfer station

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. 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. There are professional bin rental companies that will drop off waste bins and take them away when you no longer require them, disposing or recycling the waste in the proper manner.