Top Five Most Difficult Construction Wastes to Recycle

Construction, remodeling and most home improvement projects almost always have waste leftover. So what do you do with it all? Chucking them into the landfill can be a big no-no. Recycling building materials is the best bet, but it’s not always possible. Finding out what you can keep, and what you have to toss out before you buy can prevent the dilemma of having non-recyclable construction materials.

Styrofoam

Plastics can be easy to recycle, especially if your local landfill or recycling center will take 1-6 numbered plastics. But Styrofoam can be a tough product to recycle. Appliances and other heavy equipment items are almost always wrapped with some form of Styrofoam. Trying to buy products without Styrofoam can be difficult at best, but it certainly warrants looking when most Styrofoam last forever.

Pressure Treated Lumber

Pressure treated lumber is used to prevent the rot and decay of wood products from insects or mold. While today’s modern pressure treated materials are less toxic than their past relatives, remodeling often brings up lots of older pressure treated waste. If the pressure treated material was made before 2003, then it contains toxic substances that must be disposed of properly at a landfill. Never burn or bury pressure treated materials.

Paints

Old paints, stains and varnishes are often unusable after a certain amount of time. But don’t just chuck it into the landfill. Proper care must be taken when handling old paint products. Landfills often take old paint only on certain days of the year and for a large fee. Try instead at your local paint store to see what recycling options are available for your old paints. Never pour old paints into the ground or down the drain.

Drywall

Gypsum based drywalls may seem like they are very recyclable, when in fact they are not at all. While paper and gypsum are often the main ingredients in drywall, other toxic mold inhibitors, emulsifiers and polymers are added to drywall. Drywall must be taken to a construction landfill and disposed of properly. Never bury old drywall in the ground.

Insulation

Another tough construction item to recycle, insulation is made from strands of glass fibers. They are extremely difficult and energy intensive to recycle, so they often get tossed into the landfills and dumps. Your local landfill will have certain requirements for disposing of insulation, so always check ahead before you bring it to the dump. If you’re buying new insulation, opt out for 100 percent recyclable materials like denim, paper or wool. Never burn or bury old insulation. Check out Construct101.com fro more information on recycling building materials.