Bronze Construction is not only efficient with time and resources when it comes to building projects, but we also strive to be resourceful when it comes to doing our part to help the environment. Lowering construction waste by reducing the amount of needed materials, reusing items when possible, and recycling benefits everyone and is also cost effective. Reducing, reusing, and recycling construction materials can provide the following benefits:
- Donating or saving materials is typically a free alternative to paying disposal fees.
- Recycling fees are generally lower than disposal fees.
- Tax deductions from donating materials to non-profits.
- Helping local governments meet their goal of reducing disposal by 50%.
- Creating business: New business and product opportunities associated with recycled materials add to the growth of our local economy.
Accuracy in estimations is essential to reducing excess construction material, plus it saves money that would otherwise be spent on additional and unneeded material. Measure twice before cutting and only use what is needed for the job. If 2 nails are all that is needed, then do not use 5 nails. Drywall clips are another idea (see picture to the right).
Lumber and sheet materials are typically milled in two-foot increments. Designing your building using this same module will maximize the use of materials and minimize waste. Use Advanced Framing techniques, also known as Optimum Value Engineering (OVE). We have more information here: http://www.bronzeconstruction.net/blog/advanced-framing-techniques/. Deeper eaves or overhangs protect siding and windows from the elements, meaning they will need repair and replacement less often. Deeper eaves may also keep your building cooler in summer by blocking the sun’s rays. (Source: City of Portland Planning & Sustainability, 2013)
Look for reusable construction material by sorting items during and after construction. This eliminates material waste and saves money. Excess building materials that will not be reused can be donated to a local non-profit organization, such as The ReBuilding Center. They also offer a free pick-up service for used building materials. Reusable materials can be purchased from these organizations as well. There are also online marketplaces to buy and sell used commercial construction material, such as BoneyardNW.
The Metro website has a search feature to find a local recycler in the Portland area that will accept materials for recycling. According to oregonmetro.gov, the online directory lists “more than 400 local recycling and reuse sites”. Drywall can be a challenge to dispose of and several communities do not accept drywall in landfills due to environmental hazards. Hydrogen sulfide gas may be produced, particularly in wet climates, when drywall is disposed of in landfills. Hydrogen sulfide gas is toxic at high concentrations (~1,000 parts per million) and has a foul, rotten-egg odor. But drywall waste can be reduced and recycled. PDXRelocate, an online directory that lists recyclers in the Portland metro area, has a page dedicated just to drywall recycling. http://www.pdxrelocate.com/recycling-products-drywall.htm.