Save Money and Reduce Waste at Your Construction Site
The City of Austin's Construction and Demolition (C&D) Recycling Ordinance requires general contractors to reuse or recycle construction debris. An efficient recycling program can help you meet the city’s requirements with limited time and labor.
Use these tips to create a successful recycling program at your project site.
Determine what type(s) of waste the project will generate during each phase. This will help you figure out which processors, recyclers and haulers will work best for the project. A mixed C&D processor allows you to mix most materials into one dumpster. Other recyclers require materials to be separated on the job site. Although separation can take more time and space, it allows for greater savings and the potential for higher recycling rates to meet the ordinance’s requirements.
Common construction debris that can be reused or recycled include:
- Concrete and paving
- Corrugated cartons
Ensure haulers, processors and recycling facilities will provide weight tickets for each load of material. You will need the weight ticket to fill out the required online report at the end of the project. You can compile them into the weight ticket summary spreadsheet to make filling in your required Construction Recycling Report at the end of the project easier.
Set up the job site for success
Consider how many dumpsters, recycling containers and storage areas the project will need. Clearly label containers with images of materials to promote proper sorting. When possible, pair recycling dumpsters next to landfill trash dumpsters to reduce the risk of trash ending up in the recycling container. Too much trash in a recycling container can result in the whole dumpster being taken to a landfill instead of being recycled.
Train staff and subcontractors
Educate and train all employees throughout the project. Everyone working on the project should know that proper recycling is needed for the project to meet the city’s requirements. You can address recycling at job site meetings, orientation or lunches. Provide all employees, including subcontractors, a copy of the job site recycling instructions.
Site photographs can help communicate the impact of construction debris being put in the incorrect recycling or landfill trash dumpster.
The best environmental and cost-effective solution is to reduce the amount of waste created during a project. Implement waste reduction at all stages of a project, from procurement to final inspection.
- Consider suppliers that offer reusable or returnable packaging options.
- Plan deliveries to align with construction stages.
- Avoid excess and only order what you need. “Just-in-time” delivery strategies can reduce waste created. This will help keep materials from being stored on-site before they are needed and reduce the risk of damage.
Reuse and recycle materials
- Plan for future deconstruction by using mechanical fasteners such as bolts and screws.
- Invest in reusable products for temporary applications such as a steel mesh fence.
- Sell or donate unused and salvaged materials. Donating materials can count towards a project’s overall diversion to meet the ordinance’s requirements.
- Repair items so they can be reused.
- Set up separate collection areas for materials you plan on reusing on-site, recycling and donating to keep them separate, clean and accessible.
- Collect hazardous material in a separate container to reduce the risk of contamination to other materials.
Learn more about Austin’s Construction and Demolition Recycling ordinance, find resources or submit a Construction Recycling Report at austintexas.gov/cd.