Fact or Fiction: Construction Site Recycling

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Whether you're a do-it-yourselfer or a professional building contractor, recycling your construction debris can save you money and help the environment. Take the quiz to see how smart you really are when it comes to recycling demolition waste.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, renovation and remodeling projects account for 40 percent of all construction site waste.

Renovation and remodeling accounts for 40 percent of all construction site waste. The remaining building waste is generated during construction or demolition projects.


Concrete and mixed rubble make up nearly 50 percent of all building-related construction and demolition debris.

While concrete and mixed rubble make up nearly 50 percent of all demolition debris, wood constitutes 20 to 30 percent of the construction waste stream.


Drywall makes up nearly 20 percent of all building-related construction and demolition debris.

Only about 12 percent of all building-related and construction debris comes from drywall.


Every year in the United States, builders generate approximately 31.5 million tons of construction waste.

Builders in the United States create nearly 31.5 million tons of construction debris that accounts for nearly 25 percent of all municipal solid waste in the country.


A new 2,000 square-foot-home generates about 20,000 pounds of construction waste.

Demolishing a 2,000-square-foot home generates about 8,000 pounds, or 50 cubic yards, of waste.


Plastics make up 5 percent of construction waste.

Plastics actually make up a fraction of all construction waste. The total ranges from 1 to 5 percent.


If builders reused and recycled just 25 percent of the buildings that are demolished every year, it would divert approximately 20 million tons of debris from local landfills.

According to the Deconstruction Institute, one year's worth of construction debris would divert approximately 20 million tons of debris from local landfills and provide enough waste to build a wall 30 feet high by 30 feet wide around the continental United States.


Roofers still use asbestos shingles.

Asbestos is no longer used to manufacture roofing shingles. However, older homes might have asbestos shingles.


Wood accounts for 50 percent of all demolition debris.

Wood makes up between 20 and 30 percent of the construction and demolition waste stream.


In Chicago, builders are required by law to recycle 50 percent of the construction and demolition waste they generate.

Chicago has one of the most stringent construction recycling laws in the country. Developers are required to recycle at least 50 percent of the construction waste they generate and will face a hefty fine if they do not comply.


About 14 tons of concrete are used in constructing a typical 2,085-square-foot home.

A home of that size requires about 14 tons of concrete during construction -- most of it for its foundation.


It's possible to recycle dirt.

Soil can be recycled as a landfill cover or as soil for farming.


Coal ash can be recycled into floor tiles.

Although coal ash cannot be recycled into floor tiles, it can be recycled into ceiling tiles.


Spent foundry sand can be used as an aggregate in concrete.

The sand from iron, steel or aluminum foundries is not hazardous and can be recycled as an ingredient in cement.


Some homes are made out of recycled bottles.

Plastic lumber made from recycled bottles can be used in building benches and other outdoor structures.


Around 64 million gallons of paint are leftover each year.

Each year communities across the United States have to dispose of, or otherwise manage, 64 million gallons of paint, costing each community an average of $8 per gallon.


Building-related construction and demolition debris totals approximately 160 million tons per year.

Construction and demolition waste account for nearly 160 million tons of waste per year, which is about 26 percent of the total non-industrial waste generated each year in the United States.


An estimated 50 percent of building-related construction and demolition debris is recovered for processing and recycling.

Only 20 to 30 percent of all construction and demolition waste is recovered and processed for recycling.


According to the EPA, construction materials that are most frequently recycled include shingles, plastic piping and glass.

Concrete, asphalt, metals and wood are the materials most frequently recovered and recycled from construction sites.


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