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Materials » Construction and Demolition (C & D) Waste Management


Construction and Demolition (C & D) Waste Management

Photo of two construction professionals sorting through job-site waste;  photo's caption, 'Effective job-site waste management can reduce the generated amount of construction and demolition (C&D) waste through reuse (salvage) and recycling.

The U.S. EPA estimates that 136 million tons of construction and demolition waste is generated in the U.S.A each year. This is about 2.8 pounds per person, per day. Twelve percent of California's waste comes from the construction and demolition of buildings ( Implementing recycling and waste diversion efforts at construction and demolition sites, the amount of waste destined to the landfill is reduced. As a result, schools can save money, resources, and at the same time reduce negative impacts on the environment. Thorough planning and protecting materials from weather damage will cut costs by eliminating the need to replace materials and will also create less waste.

While in the process of designing the school construction project, consider using dimensional planning to reduce the amount of construction waste generated onsite. There are 3 common strategies to recover construction and demolition (C & D) materials that are produced onsite: source separation, time-based, and commingled. These strategies can be done independently of one another or be combined to minimize the materials disposed in landfills. The California Integrated Waste Management Board has a C & D Website including a C & D Recyclers Database, which is searchable by building material type and location. This resource can be used as a tool to identify local recycling facilities that process C & D waste. Another resource available to assist in finding local C & D diversion options is the local jurisdiction's recycling coordinator; local contact information for can be found through the contacts tab in the jurisdiction page in the Integrated Waste Management Board's California Waste Stream Profiles database.

Additional design techniques that can reduce the waste generated after the building has been constructed include designing for flexibility and disassembly.

Featured Resources

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
(Best Practices Manual Volume 2, General Conditions Section, Guideline GC2: Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Management) CHPS aims to facilitate the design of high performance schools in California - environments that are not only resource efficient, but also healthy, comfortable, well lit and contain the amenities needed for a quality education. CHPS has developed a set of Best Practices Manuals (available at to create a new generation of high performance school facilities in California.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Construction & Demolition (C & D) materials
EPA's new Construction and Demolition (C & D) Debris page provides information and links to extensive resources and organizations covering the characterization, reduction, reuse, recycling and management of C & D debris.

California Integrated Waste Management Board - C & D Debris Recyclers' Database
A database of facilities that collect specific types of construction and demolition debris for reuse or recycling.

California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) - California Waste Stream Profiles
This site reveals the waste outflow from around the state.

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