Perhaps the only silver lining in the home building slowdown over the past 12-18 months is the fact that less material will clog landfills in the near future. And, those companies that continue to construct homes at a slower rate engage in more home builders’ recycling, now.
A great benefit, but why did we have to wait for economic conditions to get so dire?
Here in Central Oregon, the figures are startling. During the height of the construction boom (about 3 years ago), nearly 65% of all trash entering the landfill came from the construction industry. Even more eye-opening is the fact that 40% of that “trash” could have been recycled.
For Oregonians, there is now a guide (that could be adapted for communities across the nation) that explains the materials that can be recycled and where. The Central Oregon Builders Association (COBA), the Central Oregon Environmental Center, the Building Green Council, and the Deschutes County Solid Waste Department put together a brochure that sets forth directions for reducing, re-using or recycling more than 50 materials.
Want to know where to take your carpet, oil, batteries, paint, cardboard and pallets? Check out the website, through the links above.
Home builders recycling
The opportunity for living green extends beyond new home construction. Owners that wish to remodel their places can also engage in home builders recycling. Demolition materials may be re-used by organizations like Habitat for Humanity.
Just think how much easier these programs will make your garbage pick-up and recycling! The biggest burden for construction sites is to separate out the different recyclable materials. During boom times, workers and managers are less likely to take the time to do so. Now, in order to reduce costs, minimizing construction waste is a win-win for everyone.
Perhaps the best incentive for construction workers is if landfills change their rates for taking otherwise recyclable materials. At the minimum, they could help sort the debris before tossing otherwise usable materials.
When (and if) the housing market rebounds, let’s try hard not to go back to our erroneous ways. Keep up home builders recycling and walk just a bit softer on Mother Earth.
Could you do it? Let us know in the comments below!