Lightening the landfill load
It’s a terrible statistic. Eighty-eight percent of all construction waste in Ontario ends up in the landfill. We calculate that 40 percent of the world’s materials are used by the building industry. That adds up to a lot of waste.
It doesn’t need to be this way, and it cannot continue. This practice of easily discarding materials is not sustainable. So what can be done?
With proper planning, a builder can divert at least 30 percent of a renovation’s waste, and as much as 70 percent depending on the project. How do we know? We put this into practice as one of our core values. By doing so, our clients reap the rewards, saving and earning money.
As the saying goes, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Discarded items and metal have value. The ReStore will issue a tax receipt to your client in exchange for kitchen cabinets, doors and windows that are in good condition. Metal can be recycled using one of many steel recyclers in the city. Lumber and flooring can sometimes be reused at the same project, or brought to another one of our projects to be used as site protection to reduce material costs.
We begin every project by preparing a custom waste diversion plan to ensure that all reusable and recyclable materials are diverted from landfill. This starts with a site assessment where we list all of the items that can be carefully removed, and donated to places like Habitat for Humanity for reuse. Next we look at materials that will be removed, and either used during this project, or another. Our goal is to divert as many items from the waste bins on site as possible.
From this list, a waste strategy is born. We organize the site bins accordingly, labelling them as follows: reuse lumber, small metal scraps, recycling, and household hazardous waste. We also keep weekly log sheets of waste diversion to record the diverted materials, which allows us to develop a Responsible Renovation Report to share with our clients at the end of the project.
We also check in with our team to ensure best practices are followed. Early this year we ran a series of workshops to review waste management procedures and put them in practice for evaluation. But it doesn’t stop here. We imprint into each and every team member at Greening Homes that accountability for ensuring our core values are upheld as a personal commitment in working here.
It’s important to be up on our game. We don’t want a good thing like waste diversion go to waste.
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