Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Recycling Post-Demolition Materials

When demolishing a home or building or tearing up any stretch of pavement, you may want to look into having the materials recycled. In some cases, you can reuse the same materials for your new construction; at the very least, recycling these materials keeps them out of landfills and reduces the amount of virgin materials that need to be harvested. Note a few questions you might have about recycling post-demolition materials and then talk to a specialty contractor about these options if you still have questions.

Can every post-demolition material be recycled?

Typically the only items that cannot be recycled post-demolition are hazardous materials; this might include asbestos and certain fire-retardants that are used in the construction of walls and ceilings. Fluids such as Freon and other refrigerants may also need to be disposed of, while heating oils can often be recycled. Anything made of fabric is almost always recyclable, including carpeting, and appliances can be broken down so that their metals and internal wiring are recycled.

Can recycling be done post-demolition?

One of the most efficient ways of pulling out recyclable materials is by removing these items before demolition takes place, but this can also be done post-demolition. Some recycling centers will have large filters that allow workers to sift through debris and pull out various materials, while metal parts are caught by magnets. Other recycling stations will simply have demolition debris run across a feeder belt for workers to pull out certain materials. If you cannot afford a manual tear down, either because of the cost or the time involved, don't assume that you cannot have items recycled post-demolition and that the debris can only go to a landfill.

What items can be used onsite for new construction?

Items that survive the demolition intact can often be reused; this might include roofing tiles, bricks, and steel beams. If you're pulling up a parking lot or driveway, you can also have the concrete crushed onsite and reused. Concrete crushing can allow you to add the old concrete to a new mixture or batch, or you can use the crushed concrete as an aggregate layer over the new concrete when it's poured. Concrete can often be crushed to your size specifications, and a layer of aggregate over your new concrete can add texture to the surface, making your new concrete safer for walking and driving. This can also help avoid water runoff along your parking lot or driveway, reducing the risk of soil erosion on your property.   

For more information, contact local professionals like South Coast Concrete Crushing & Recycling.