88.7 % of Construction Waste can be Turned into Bucks

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams ELITE Realty
Not all waste should go to landfills, earn some bucks and save planet Earth. Common household waste could be easier to recycle, but how about tonnes of construction waste?

Ben Fishman of Benefits Waste Management is rocking on their third year of collecting old wood, dry wall, scrap metal, and what ever items reusable from construction scrap heaps. Fishman claims that based on a data they collected during a pilot renovation project last year, 88.7% of the construction waste during the renovation of a home can be recycled.

Prior to this project,  Fishman used to manage construction waste, taking charge of the refuse bins and found out that recycling was rarely considered. Recycling didn’t concern him much actually. He is just not happy with what he saw. So, he started to separate cardboard and metal and took it to recycling centers before dumping what remained to waste transfer stations.

Common procedure for any construction project, whether it is a brand new one or a tear down renovation,  all the junk gets hauled up, dumped into a bin and loads up to a truck on route to a landfill.

Under the Benefits Waste System, the junk is sorted, loaded to Fishman’s modified trucks then delivered directly to recyclers. This eliminates the mounting of scrap heaps and over filled waste bins, which communities absolutely prefer.

Wood and Lumber are taken to Urban Woodwaste Recyclers in New Westminster, where the ground wood materials are taken as fuel for cement plants.  Dry wall or plaster is either taken to a gypsum recycling station or grounded as road base.

This business model requires more manpower, but the pay-off comes when the junk is disposed since lower fees are charged when recyclables are dropped-off. Their rates compete well against other waste removal firms who charges higher for unsorted waste. Most companies are generally indecisive about integrating recycling into their practices. Metro Vancouver’s standard rate of $96 per tonne and rising is still not enough for companies to change the way they deal with waste. But above the tipping fees, fuel costs adds up to the challenge.

Start-up businesses like Fishman’s take a very slow progress, there are dry spells on profits. But he made some decent profits for the last two years and working on Metro Vancouver and the Home Builder’s Association has allowed him to document his achievements and get an early start in that stage of business. He pointed out that while the Energy and Environmental Design  program for green buildings normally sets a 50% recycling rate for construction waste, his firm already reached 75 percent.

He further envisions for recycling targets increased and incentives given for contractors who hire recycling firms to manage waste.

For Fishman the bright idea was not a big deal, but it is slowly getting attention from builders and the communities he cater.
Posted by

The Josh Bath Team

Keller Williams Elite Realty



Comments (2)

Mark Delgado
houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove - Benicia, CA
Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h

Standard construction practice in our area is to recycle steel, concrete products, wood, gypsum board and anything else that is recyclable.  I should know since my "day job" is helping to supervise the rebuild of the Cal Memorial Stadium at UC Berkeley which is a project much larger than building a house!

In California, recycling has proven to be a money saver so it has been a common practice in construction for a long while.

Nov 17, 2011 04:39 PM
Josh Bath
Keller Williams ELITE Realty - Coquitlam, BC
The Josh Bath Team

Great to hear Mark! Large projects has more recycling opportunties. BC has yet to do more on recycling. 

Nov 20, 2011 04:51 PM