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Construction and Demolition Reuse and Recycling

In Metro Nashville, 23% of the waste we send to landfill is created from construction and demolition waste, including wood, metal, concrete, asphalt, brick, and other valuable materials. When landfilled, this material can create greenhouse gases; yet, in many cases, it still has value as construction material or as raw material for recycling. We can significantly reduce the amount of construction and demolition waste we send to landfill through Redesign, Reuse, Deconstruction, Recycling, and Recovery.

The waste hierarchy provides strategies for how you can reduce construction and demolition waste based on what is most environmentally preferred. As you move up the pyramid, each strategy does more to conserve our natural resources, prevent pollution, and save energy.

Inverted pyramid showing list of items in waste hierarchy. Text version follows graphic in content.

  1. Design your project to not create waste in the first place, such as using prefab construction or right-fitting materials.
  2. Reuse existing buildings rather than demolishing and building new.
  3. Deconstruct buildings piece by piece so valuable construction and demolition materials can be reused.
  4. Recycle construction and demolition waste such as concrete, metal, wood, and cardboard. See if you can reuse recycled material on site, such as crushed concrete.
  5. Recover material that doesn’t have a market for recycling to convert into useable energy.
  6. Landfill should only be considered if there is not a higher and better use for the waste material.

To learn how to incorporate these ideas on your next construction or demolition project, download our complete Construction and Demolition Recycling Guide and check out the resources below.