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Commercial Developers: Is Recycling On-Site Cost Effective?

Not only is reusing, repurposing, and recycling construction material good for the environment, it might also be good for your bottom line. Like other commercial construction companies, we at Leon Williams Contractors are always looking for ways to stay under budget at our construction sites around East Tennessee, and it turns out that making the effort to be environmentally friendly might be the key to doing just that.

Have you ever thought about what it actually means to reuse, repurpose, or recycle? Basically, reusing an item means that you put it to its intended use more than one time, such as a nail or a beam. Recycling means sending a material to be broken down and converted into another usable material or item. If you repurpose an item, this means that rather than sending it off to be recycled, you would still use it, but in a different way than its original purpose.

Where do these things factor into the commercial construction industry? It’s not always possible to repurpose a construction item, but taking steps to reuse or recycle a material on site may make the difference between being under or over budget. It’s probably also appealing to your clients, who see the value in owning green buildings.

So how can you use environmentally friendly techniques to your economic advantage on the construction job site? First, you’ll need to do a little advance planning. Assess a demolition site before tearing down a building and keep an inventory of anything that can be reused or sent off for recycling. Get your crew involved and train them on what to look for and what to do with any salvaged items. Then, create designated areas where those salvaged materials will be sorted. Make sure you watch over your team to hold them accountable to the task at hand. Try to make use of any reusable items on the job site, as that will be the most cost-effective technique.

You can likely reuse steel, which has the added benefit of often being produced locally, from recycled scraps. Materials like carpet can be sent off for recycling. You can also crush and reuse concrete. If you’re dealing with a bad parking lot, use a technique called full depth reclamation. This involves pulverizing the asphalt, adding stone base and earth and adjusting the moisture percentage, to create a new, more stable surface.

Not all of these techniques will work on every commercial construction site. However, thinking carefully before demolishing an existing building to make way for a new one may yield you some surprisingly reusable materials, help your building adhere to green standards, and save you some project costs in the process.

Leon Williams Contractors has spent many years building its reputation in the East Tennessee area as a qualified and reputable commercial contractor. We welcome your comments and feedback about our blog topics.

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