AEGB-green-building-recyclingConstruction Waste Management and Recycling

How to Conquer Construction Waste Management on your Green Building Project.

If you’re participating in the Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) program, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), or trying to achieve another Energy Star rating, then you’ll want to have a Construction Waste Management Plan (CWM) in place before your project starts.

Here is how many points you earn for Construction 

Waste Management:

AEGB Projects: you can earn 3 of your total 100 points green building points by using your plan to have 50% (by weight) of your trash diverted from the Austin landfill or recycled. You can earn 1 additional point if 75% (by weight) of your construction waste is diverted.

LEED Projects: to receive the MRc2: CWM credit on your LEED project you need to plan to recycle and/or salvage Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste: 50% = 1 point, 75% = 2 points, 95% = 1 EP point.

To participate in the green building programs, you must submit a tentative CWM Plan before starting your project.

That means, if you are calling your top 10 best trash removal companies today for dumpster rental cost quotes on getting trash removal roll off containers delivered today for your commercial or residential demolition and construction project, you are too late to participate in a green building program. However, you can still go through the process so that on your next project, everything will be easier on you to participate.

Here are the 4 things main pieces of information that can go into a Refuse Management Plan.

1. Which materials are being diverted or disposed of from your project? Common waste materials include: Asphalt Paving, Asphalt Shingles, Brick (whole), Carpet/padding, Concrete, Cardboard, Glass, Gypsum/Drywall, Land Clearing Metals, Plastics, Plastic Film Wrap, Rock/Gravel, Soil/Sand Wood, Hazardous Waste, Commingled Material (off site sorting), or Other.

2. Select how you plan for each waste material will be diverted or disposed of using the following methods: Reuse, Salvage Off Site, Recycle Source Separated, Recycle Commingled, or the Austin Dump. If you have materials where some will be recycled, and other parts will go to the Austin landfill, simply note that next to the material.

3. Identify who the Austin construction dumpsters hauler is for your project.  3B. State the receiving location(s). Here is a list of all permitted private waste haulers in Austin.

4. Project the weight of trash for each material category, then report actual weights based on weight tickets provided to you by your garbage collection service and recycling hauler. More about this below.

What does all of this look like on paper that can be turned in to your AEGB or LEED representative?

Here is an example Construction Waste Management Plan:

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Tips for Austin Energy Green Building projects: 

  • You will need to calculate the projected weight of debris for each material in your plan.
  • Your must have at least 4 anticipated separate materials be diverted or salvaged.
  • The percent of waste recycled or salvaged does not include weight from: excavated soil, stone, and land clearing debris.
  • Each quarter (1/4th year) AEGB needs you to submit the weight tickets for all materials. Tickets are provided by your hauler.
  • Contaminated loads that are rejected from recycling must be counted as landfill waste.
  • Do not include hazardous materials. i.e. lead and asbestos from the job site.
  • Learn the differences between on-site separation versus commingled off-site sorting.

The big challenge in Construction Trash Management planning: 

On-Site Separation Versus Off-Site Sorting of Commingled Waste.

Almost all construction projects use commingled off-site sorting, except for large industrial projects that can have a construction dumpster on-site for each type of waste material.

The advantage to on-site separation into different roll off containers is this: lets say you have glass from 2,000 windows at at apartment complex renovation. If you put all of that glass in 1 garbage dumpster, and nothing else, then all of your glass has the opportunity to be recycled. In this apartment complex example, they would host on-site a second trash dumpster for roofing shingles, a third rolloff dumpster for carpet, and a fourth for drywall materials. Each dumpster is exclusive for one material and is contaminated if anything else is put in that trash container rental.

On the other hand, if you have glass in a dumpster that is also mixed with plastic, wood, aluminum, and other waste, this is commingled off-site sorting.

Here is how off site sorting happens: all material from the roll off dumpsters is initially hauled at a sorting facility. Workers try to comb through the garbage to sort out each recyclable material. Only part of the material is separated since it is mixed together. The recyclables go to the appropriate local recyclers or reuse sites. The rest of the material is hauled to the Austin landfill to be dumped.

Commingled off-site material sorting means less material is recycled. However, it is much more efficient for the contractor on the job site, except in large industrial projects.

Whether you do on-site or off-site sorting, in both cases the hauler will provide you with a report for how much the recycled materials weighed. These weight tickets are used to calculate the percentage of all project waste that is reused or recycled.

How to use Austin dumpster rental quadrants to maximize recycling opportunities:

The best roll off dumpsters are rectangular. Imagine there are 4 quadrants or sections in a garbage dumpster. Put only one type of debris in each quadrant. Then when the trash dumpsters are dumped for sorting, almost all the materials in each quadrant can be pulled out and recycled (if it is recyclable).

What happens in most roll off containers is the opposite. Debris is not separated in any way, it is all mixed with recyclable and non-recyclable materials so it is very hard to sort.

If you try using quadrants and also have mixed trash that is not recyclable (and you’re putting it in the dumpster, put the mixed debris in one section of the construction dumpster toward the bottom so mixing with reusable materials is limited.

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Pros and Cons of Onsite Versus Off-Site Sorting of Construction Waste

On-Site Sorting

Pros:

  • You can oversee the sorting, selling materials, and reduce costs.

Cons:

  • Added onsite labor in sorting waste and related costs.
  • Requires larger sites where there is room to manage extra dumpsters.
  • Extra work to ensure proper use of roll off dumpsters and prevent contamination.

Off-Site Sorting

Pros:

  • Everything can be mixed; less need for on-site trash dumpster management.
  • Minimum staff training, to orient team to waste separation.
  • Less space needed. You can use hauler’s report as documentation.

Cons:

  • Requires a recycling facility that offers sorting.
  • Limited pool of trash removal companies who will agree to participate.

What does it all mean?

If you’re participating in a green building program to earn a star rating, then CWM Planning and Reporting is an area you must address early.

Unless you are doing a large industrial project where on-site sorting is an option, you will probably be using a single dumpster for commingled off-site sorting. With off-site sorting, you can still increase your accepted recyclable weights by putting each material in a certain quadrant of the roll off containers. Quadrant sorting allows for easier sorting by workers at the off-site sorting facility.

When first contacting your prospective trash removal companies hauler, tell them that you are going to need LEED or AEGB loads. This will get you the right price the first time. It is more expensive to do provide LEED and AEGB dumpster service because of the significant extra labor involved in sorting and disposal.

Here is what to do next:

Fill out your sample Construction Waste Management Plan using the example above. I hope you find the information valuable, and if you have any questions please call my office at 512-200-8770.

Return to Contractor’s Guide list of articles or view: The 7 Tips Trash Removal Companies Hide