Not all products are so easy to market. Drywall is one such material. “Drywall has to be managed on site very strictly,” says Funke. “You can take clean cut-off drywall to a manufacturer. But if someone carelessly throws a bottle of water into the container thinking it’s trash, the whole load will get rejected There are very strict controls on that. Typically, your average construction site is very difficult to keep a container clean.”
Processing of certain materials also requires specialized equipment. In many cases, it makes sense to form partnerships with contractors that provide such services.
Take shingle recycling, which requires a dedicated shingle grinder and enough shingles to keep it productive. “You cannot buy a half million dollar machine to sit there and collect dust,” says Kirk. Instead, Henson Disposal approached Southwind RAS to accept its shingles. “They have the investment. It makes no sense for me to do it. It is a great working relationship. I have something they need and we work together. It is better for everybody that we are working like that.”
Earn LEED points
Not every region is fortunate enough to have easy access to a C&D recycling facility. “In southern Indiana, it is still very inexpensive to landfill things, so you need to have enough of a product to do something with or LEED [requirements] that would direct recycling,” says Funke. “No material recycling centers exist down here. You cannot throw everything into one container and it gets sorted.”
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program served as the leverage Kirk C&D Recycling needed to start its C&D recycling operation. “The LEED projects are what motivated us,” says Kirk. “We always wanted to do C&D recycling. We talked about this for 12 years. When the LEED projects came out, I saw an opportunity.”
LEED projects encourage recycling of C&D waste, and can motivate companies that would otherwise not consider recycling to search out C&D recycling services. “On a LEED project, if you bring your waste stream here, you can get credit for our recycling rate,” says Kirk. “So on your LEED job, if I hit 82% this month, then you can show that you recycled 82% off your project.”
Fligeltaub Recycling Inc. has participated in a couple of successful LEED projects. Recently, the company performed all of the LEED point recycling during construction of the Ford Center in Evansville, IN, after the demolition of the adjacent 12-story Executive Inn. “We hit 87% by weight of that building that was recycled,” recalls Funke.
The company also did all of the trash recycling for the new project that went in. “They had budgeted $200,000 in waste going to the landfill,” says Funke. “We reduced that to $88,000. Everything else was diverted. It was over a 50% diversion factor in waste alone.” ET