Fremont, CA: Waste management is a critical component of sustainable construction. Today, waste management is a major concern in the construction industry. With dumping sites currently overflowing across Africa, it is past time to prioritize salvage/reclamation opportunities, source reduction, recycling or reusing materials, and waste disposal. The following are some suggestions for sustainable waste management in the construction industry:
Some construction waste can be reduced. Construction products, for instance, can be chosen because they are designed and manufactured to be shipped with minimal packaging. One should consider how the selection and use of recyclable materials and products can help to reduce waste.
Some materials are reusable. For example, doors and windows in good, resaleable condition could be substituted for new products, donated, or sold for use on another project; this is a type of beneficial reuse.
Materials and products that cannot be efficiently and effectively eliminated, minimized, or reused are eventually collected and, unless managed, will most likely be disposed of at the lowest possible cost. In many parts of the country, disposal fees at solid waste landfills are significantly higher than the cost of separation and recovery, including residue disposal.
Some of the waste generated during the construction process can be avoided. Durable modular metal form systems for use in concrete construction, for example, maybe chosen because they are easily demountable and reusable on other projects, thereby eliminating wood waste associated with plywood and dimensional lumber formwork. Waste elimination can help to cut down the impact on human health and the environment.