Construction and Demolition Debris

Did you know? In 2010, C&D processing facilities in New York State received approximately 11.5 million tons of C&D debris and recovered approximately 6.3 million tons of material.[1]

Just like New York State as a whole, LIU Post too diverted around 50% of the construction and demolition debris generated on campus in FY2012. Largely due to ongoing repairs and renovations, LIU Post produced 239,700 pounds of C&D waste in FY2012. Therefore, it is estimated that 119,850 pounds got sent to a landfill and the other 119,850 pounds got either reused or recycled.

Unlike what is considered “regular” trash, construction and demolition debris represents uncontaminated solid waste resulting from the construction, remodeling, repair and/or demolition of utilities, structures and roads, as well as uncontaminated solid waste resulting from land clearing.[2]

Such waste includes, but is not limited to:

  • Bricks
  • Concrete
  • Wood
  • Soil and Rock
  • Asphalt
  • Roofing Shingles
  • Plumbing Fixtures
  • Plaster and Drywall
  • Non-asbestos Insulation

LIU Post is committed to lowering its environmental impact and the environmental benefits of recycling C&D materials can be significant. In fact, current estimates show that if all concrete and asphalt pavement generated annually in the United States were recycled, it would save the energy equivalent of 1 billion gallons of gasoline or the removal of more than 1 million cars from the road.[3]

To ensure that LIU Post recycles as much C&D waste as possible, the Department of Facilities Services source separates any recoverable materials that can be used in future renovation projects thereby reducing the amount that we end up sending to our waste hauler, Jamaica Ash.

Any C&D waste that is not reused is stored in two 30-yard roll-off containers on campus, which are then picked up by Jamaica Ash on an as-needed basis. Jamaica Ash will then process the mixed C&D waste and sell any recoverable C&D waste to secondary markets where it will be prepared for use in new applications.

Concrete, for example, can be crushed and recycled into new concrete. In fact, recycled concrete aggregate is currently being used in concrete and asphalt products with better performance over comparable virgin aggregates.[4]

Drywall, which is approximately 90% gypsum, is also currently being recycled into a number of various applications. In addition to being used in the manufacturing of new drywall, scrap gypsum drywall can be used as an ingredient in the production of cement, fertilizer applications, and as an additive to composting operations.[5]

The markets for recycling other construction materials are also growing. Wood can be chipped to be used as mulch or animal bedding. Dirt can be used as a cover material for landfills. And shingles can be recycled into new shingles or as an aggregate road base.

Overall, recycling construction materials is becoming commonplace and at LIU Post we do our best to reuse or recycle what we can, especially because it is one of our largest waste streams.

Just like construction materials, we hope that we can build upon this success in the future.

[1] From the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

[3] Kimberly Cochran and Nicole Villamizar, “An Important Part of the Construction Process,” Today’s Recycling Solutions, Volume 1, Number 1, Page 6 

[4] From the Construction Materials Recycling Association

[5] From the Construction Materials Recycling Association

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