More than 70 percent of the construction and demolition (C&D) debris 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), Aurora, Illinois. 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 feet.
Townsend, who presented during C&D World in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 31, 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 titled “Benefits of C&D Recycling.”
Earlier during the conference, Ed Sullivan, chief economist for the Portland Cement Association (PCA), predicted that construction activity would increase 5.5 percent in 2015, including a 17 percent increase in new housing starts. Construction activity might even be higher, he said. However, he cautioned that 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.
The C&D white paper also provides data on the energy savings and greenhouse emissions avoided 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.
Other key findings of the report include:
- facility owners have invested more than $4.5 billion in the development and construction of C&D recycling infrastructure; and
- when considering indirect and induced economic output, the industry represents a more than $17 billion contribution.
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, according to the association. In the past, the CDRA says, researchers have tried to gain information from C&D recyclers, and were not as 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,” says 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.”
For more information about the report, contact the CDRA at 630-585-7530 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. An executive summary of the report’s findings are available on the CDRA website, www.cdrecycling.org.