The reduction, reuse and recycling of construction and demolition materials is an important part of reducing waste in Deschutes County. The EPA estimates the total building related construction and demolition (C&D) waste to be over 135 million tons per year, and the average new construction project creates 3.9 pounds of waste per square foot. With a little time and proper planning, many of these materials can be reused or recycled rather than sending them to the landfill.
Whether you are building a new home or embarking on a DIY home remodel, waste reduction and recycling can be incorporated into your projects. Keep in mind a few key things:
- Less is more. Smaller homes and buildings significantly create less waste over a lifetime of use and maintenance and have numerous other environmental benefits.
- Choose classic designs and finishes that work over time (green shag carpet, anyone?)
- Seek non-toxic options for interiors such as natural flooring, low or no VOC paints and finishes, and other non-toxic products.
- Look for opportunities to reuse. Some reused items can create beautiful and interesting design elements.
- Communicate with your garbage hauler if necessary to get appropriate containers for reuse and recycling. Label clearly and check bins periodically to make sure they have the proper materials.
- Set aside a clear, accessible space for recycling containers for materials.
- Educate and require everyone involved, including sub-contractors to participate in waste reduction and recycling programs on your site.
- Create a waste reduction and recycling plan, outlining what materials are to be recycled or reused and set goals for waste diversion. At the very least, building sites should provide containers to separate out wood waste, cardboard and scrap metal.