More than 70 percent of the Construction and Demolition (C&D) material generated in the United States is recycled, according Dr. Timothy Townsend of the University of Florida, speaking at C&D World 2015, the Annual Meeting of the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA). He added that the area of landfill avoided by recycling this amount of C&D is annually equivalent to more than 440 acres at a waste depth of 50 ft.
Townsend, who presented on March 31 at C&D World in Nashville, added that C&D, which includes concrete, asphalt, wood, drywall, metals, asphalt shingles, and many other materials generated during road, bridge, and building projects, is created at a rate of nearly 480 million tons per year, making it the largest individual waste stream in the country.
Townsend’s remarks were based on a C&D White Paper that his research team was commissioned to develop by the CDRA.
Earlier in the conference Ed Sullivan, Chief Economist for the PCA, predicted that construction activity would increase 5.5 percent in 2015, including a 17 percent increase in new housing starts. It might even be higher, he said. However, he cautioned that even after the 17 percent increase in activity in that sector, that is still relatively low because housing starts have been so low for so long.
But the C&D White Paper discussed on the last day of the meeting was a show highlight. The document also provides data on the energy saving and greenhouse emissions avoidance as a result of recycling C&D materials. In the report, which is available to all members of the CDRA, it states that the C&D recycling industry is responsible for the direct support of 19,000 jobs, with the direct annual output (revenue) of the industry to be approximately $7.4 billion.
“This report proves the incredible value and importance of the C&D Recycling Industry,” said Valerie Montecalvo, president of the CDRA and also president of Bayshore Recycling, Keasbey, NJ. “This shows that C&D is one of the largest material streams in the United States, and that recycling these materials provides tremendous economic and environmental benefits.”
More in-depth information is available in the CDRA’s C&D White Paper, which was developed from the most extensive data collection ever gathered from C&D recyclers. In the past many researchers have tried to gain information from C&D recyclers, and were not very successful.
“On behalf of the CDRA Board of Directors, I want to thank all of the many companies that responded to the survey, which allowed us to put together this overarching look at the industry,” said Montecalvo. “The amount of data gathered is going to allow the researchers at the University of Florida to provide more depth of understanding about our industry.”