LEED changes a boost for C&D
Advocacy efforts by the Construction & Demolition recycling Association are helping recyclers remain profitable
Construction and demolition (C&D) materials are hefty. It is why we can so effectively build roads, bridges and buildings out of them. It's also why, by weight, they are the most significant material in the North American waste stream. This creates a challenge for recycling, as it's usually too expensive, in terms of ROI, to ship most recovered C&D end products, including wood, concrete, drywall, asphalt, and asphalt shingles.
Due to the economic challenges already inherent in shipping C&D materials, China's recent actions to limit imports of recyclables has not hit the C&D industry as hard as it has curbside recycling. Cardboard and plastics that C&D recyclers handle have been affected, but that is a relatively small part of the C&D material stream.
However, this doesn't mean C&D recyclers don't have end market issues. Markets for wood and metals in particular face challenges due to the unique market conditions that surround them. The C&D Recycling Association (CDRA)is working continuously on developing those markets and on advocating to make sure the regulations and realities of the C&D industry remain conducive to profitability.
Revised Leed an improvement for C&D recyclers
Recently, the US Green Building Council released LEED version 4.1, revising a number of credits in the international green building program, including recycling credits. The previous version, LEEDv4, required contractors to sort waste on site into different boxes. In many instances, especially in urban areas, there was no room for multiple dumpsters at the site.
We are pleased to report that, in large part due to CDRA advocacy, LEEDv4.1 has lifted the requirement that source separation occur at the jobsite in order to receive recycling credits in the U.S. As an alternative to onsite separation, materials can now also be taken to a Recycling Certification Institute certified centre that processes multiple end product material streams.
While the offsite option is now available, source separation can still occur at the jobsite, as long as there is proof that at least three material streams are coming off the site.
With the latest addition to the LEED recycling credits, a facility certified by the Recycling Certification Institute, which can prove it has three or four material streams coming out of it, will be able to earn the recycling points.
The C&D Recycling Association was instrumental in getting this reasonable and industry-benefitting change made in LEED regulations. This is just one of our many recent activities, an example of the advocacy we provide on behalf of the industry, in Canada and the U.S., to benefit businesses and promote the profitable recovery of construction and demolition materials.
The best way to learn about the latest developments in C&D is to attend, taking place March 9 through 12 in Brooklyn, New York. Visit cdrecycling.org for more information.
Besides serving as President of the C&D Recycling Association, Troy Lautenbach is President of Lautenbach Recycling in Mt. Vernon, Washington, USA.
This article was originally published in the January/February 2019 edition of Recycling Product News, Volume 27, Number 1.
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