Demetree Real Estate Blog

4 Ways to Reduce Waste at Your Construction Project

[fa icon="calendar"] 09.06.2016 / by Wallace Dostal


The construction and demolition industries are responsible for over one third of all landfill waste. Even more alarming is the fact that more than 75% of this waste is made from clean, reusable materials. This is not an inevitable result; a large portion on construction waste can be easily avoided.

A major part of managing construction waste is to plan ahead. Here are four ways to reduce waste production at your jobsite:

1. Reuse Materials

You should always attempt to salvage scraps, especially if they are non-recyclable materials. You can always use them for future projects, sell them, or even donate them later on.

  • Keep wood and metal scraps for test pieces around cutting stations.
  • Use drywall pieces as patches for covering small holes.
  • Sell your leftovers that are still in good condition to hardware stores or other vendors.
  • Donate scraps to non-profits organizations.

The key to reusing materials is to keep them in good condition, so make sure to store your scraps in a weather-proof area.

2. Properly Sort and Recycle Materials

You can easily reduce the amount of waste you produce on site by sorting the different materials into separate containers. Make sure the containers are clearly labeled and that everybody knows where they are located. At the very least, you should separate debris into piles of wood, metal, and concrete.

Not only is this better for the environment, it is more cost effective as well. Keeping materials dry, clean, and separate makes them more valuable and cuts back on sorting fees.

3. Use Advanced Framing Techniques

Advanced framing, otherwise known as optimum value engineering, is a system that reduces the amount of materials that are used to frame buildings. This system recommends planning room dimensions in two-foot increments to eliminate odd-sized scrap pieces that can’t be reused. Advanced framing also reduced a building’s energy usage by using fewer studs and rafters.

4. Don’t Demolish, Deconstruct

Instead of reducing your building to a pile of rubble, one way to reduce waste is to perform what is known as a “soft” tear down, or deconstruction phase. This involves systematically removing  materials that can be reused or resold. Through deconstruction, items such as windows, plumbing fixtures, lumber, and more can be salvaged and saved for future products.

Planning Ahead

Planning ahead and following some of the above tips can have a major impact on the amount of waste you produce, as well as your bottom line. Just remember that the most effective waste management efforts are implemented early on.


Topics: Construction

Wallace Dostal

Written by Wallace Dostal

Wallace Dostal is the construction manager at Demetree Real Estate Services. He has 30 years of experience in the construction industry.