Construction waste and debris are inevitable aspects of the building process but the amount of waste can be regulated and reduced. According to construction panel manufacturer Norbord,"the average home build produces about 8,000 pounds of waste." While most construction waste in the United States ends up in landfills this doesn’t need to be the case. Below, we’ll look at five ways to reduce waste on your next project.
One of the best ways to reduce waste on site is to have a waste management plan ahead of time. Work with your architect and project manager to ensure that measurements are accurate and account for potential waste in the planning phase, monitoring it along the way. This not only helps the planet, it also saves you money in materials costs as well as the cost of transporting leftover materials once the project is completed. Planning ahead of time for waste also includes having the appropriate waste disposal bins on site for recycling. Many waste collection companies will offer separate containers for waste and for items that can be recycled; these include window glass, plastic, wood, brick, and even drywall.
Don’t Buy More Than You Need
This goes hand in hand with planning ahead. Building materials can be costly, and having excess materials that will go unused is a waste of money and resources. You may want to consider pre-fabricated options which can be precision cut off-site, eliminating the need for on-site waste. Another thing that can be done in the early stages is selecting materials which don’t contain excessive or superfluous packaging.
Do Regular Inventories
Having an organized site and a project manager or general contractor who are on top of inventory is crucial. Knowing what is where and how much of everything you need, while anticipating what needs to be ordered are important aspects of a smoothly run construction site, as well as one that isn't wasteful.
Donating used fixtures and materials can be an excellent option, especially if your construction project is a fix-flip. If they’re in good condition, things like kitchen cabinets can be removed and donated to companies like Habitat for Humanity to be used in other construction projects. Doors and windows are also items that can often be salvaged. If you have items from a flip that aren’t safe or stable enough to be used again on a residential project, but that do have character, consider donating them to companies specializing in prop and set rentals for TV and film. And don’t forget about toilets, sinks, and other bathroom fixtures. What’s more, by donating these items, you may be eligible for a tax credit.
If after all of your planning, reduction, and donation efforts, you still have things like scrap wood, drywall, or fixtures that didn’t fit left over, save them for use on future projects. While it may be a hassle to transport and store these items at the end of a build when you just want to toss them, it will be worth it on your future builds when you realize just how much extra lumber or drywall you’ve saved.