Teaching My Family Sustainability

DIY Remodeling: Guide to Recycling Your Construction Waste

Doing a minor home remodeling project yourself can be both satisfying and a major money saver, but what about the environment? Many construction companies now have policies in effect to recycle as much construction waste as possible, but as a DIYer, you may not be aware of the what can be recycled nor have access to typical contractor recycling resources. Fortunately, there are many ways you can still keep your project green. The following guide can help.

What items shouldn't be considered waste?

Certain items can obviously have a second lease on life so they shouldn't end up in the waste stream nor the down cycling stream. (Downcycling is when items are recycled into something else.) These includes things like cabinets, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, old railings, lighting fixtures, and other similar useful things. The simplest method to recycle these items is to see if there is a charity in your area that accepts construction or household items for resale. You may also be able to sell them or give them away through a neighborhood classified service.

Which items are recyclable?

The list of items that can be recycled or downcycled from a home remodeling job can be surprising. Items include the following:

  • Flooring, including linoleum, stone, and tile floors.

  • Wood in nearly any condition.

  • Concrete.

  • Asphalt, including asphalt shingles.

  • Bricks and stones.

  • Glass.

  • Metal, including pipes and wiring.

Can these items be taken to a municipal recycling center?

If your municipality offers recycling, you will need to check with them before bringing in construction debris. They may not accept all types of construction recycling, and they may only accept it in small quantities. If they do accept small quantities, chances are they will prefer it is brought into the recycling center or transfer station as opposed to being placed into the household recycling collection bin.

How can the process be simplified?

Separating and then finding a recycling facility for your construction debris can be hard and make a simple DIY job much more time consuming and challenging. Fortunately, there are ways to be green with minimal effort. Contact a roll off dumpster rental company. Many offer single stream recycling options that are suitable for smaller homeowner projects. The company will drop off a dumpster specifically for recycled items. You will place all items in this dumpster – no need to separate as the rental company will handle this. That is all that is required. You may also need a second dumpster for items that can't be recycled.

For more help, talk to a recycling center or dumper company in your area.