Meticulous Material Handling Maximizes Revenues

When it comes to efficient, environmentally sound “deconstruction” methods, Costello Dismantling, Middleborough, MA, is ahead of the curve. Its president, Dan Costello, is a past board member of the National Demolition Association and serves on its Environmental Committee. He also chairs the product specification committee of the Construction Materials Recycling Association.

“We look very carefully at each job to identify those materials that are most easily handled and recyclable – the highest and best use opportunities for each type of material,” says Costello. “We have tailored our equipment fleet and our personnel training to be disciplined between the different markets for materials.”

Landfill regulations in the state of Massachusetts are the strictest in the country. Local conditions gave Costello an incentive to excel at recycling demolition waste, and now the firm’s expertise is at work all over the Northeast, from New York City to northern Maine. Costello’s 50 full-time employees complete over 100 deconstruction projects each year. 

For example, when Costello Dismantling finished demolition of the 800,000-sq.-ft. Quaker Fabrics textile mill in Fall River, MA, its experienced crew had salvaged a treasure trove of southern yellow pine timber, massive granite blocks, concrete, bricks and metal. Of its 100,000 tons of mixed material, less than 2,000 tons were sent for disposal. The rest was recycled, reused or applied onsite to offset fill costs

In addition to meeting environmental standards, Costello Dismantling’s methods generate additional revenue streams, which then allow the company to bid more competitively on large, complex jobs. “Whether through revenue generation or reduction in costs, it works out to be pretty much the same in that there’s a positive value toward the project,” Costello says. “It’s very common for us to recycle over 90% of the material.”

Equipment Tailored to Onsite Processing

At the heart of the dismantling operation is an inventory of equipment carefully chosen to sort and process materials right on the project site. When he’s adding to the fleet, from shears to material handlers, Costello looks for robust, versatile machines that he can apply across a number of project types.

Costello recently acquired a fleet of mobile shredders to convert wood waste into graded fuel products. The shredders led him to the purchase of a new Sennebogen 821 material handler to feed the grinders with a mag-grab. 

“The thing we learned early on was the need to meticulously manage the infeed,” Costello explains. “That mainly involves picking out any heavy metals before the load goes into the shredder. This will minimize damage and downtime on that side of the operation. The mag-grapple gives us the capability to pull steel out of the wood, then load the wood into the grinder with the same grapple.

“The Sennebogen does a nice job of handling timbers so we don’t damage them in sorting and loading,” he continues. “It handles the wood delicately and efficiently. We’re always looking for wood, carpeting, gypsum wallboards… It all requires a lot of very careful handling and the 821 gives us those handling characteristics that we appreciate.”

Visibility and ease of control were characteristics Costello was looking for in the onsite processing fleet. “One of the critical components of wood fuel product is to have absolutely no metal in there. With the 821, our operators are able to look right into the grinder and into the conveyor as they feed the loads in. That gives us a second opportunity to see any bar or other metal that shouldn’t be going through.”

Cleaning Up Concrete

Costello reports that the 821 worked so well in the feeding application that he also sent it out on a demolition job to sort through mixed material and separate the iron. He describes the material handler as a secondary or tertiary machine on a project, following the primary machines which have already extracted the material from the buildings.

“The 821 cleans up the material for further processing,” says Costello. “It separates clean concrete from wood material and gives us more economical options by keeping the waste streams separate. It does that job very well. It gives you good control over the sorting.”

While producing wood fuel on the jobsite is a vital revenue source for his company, Costello acknowledges that concrete and masonry material is by far the major component of any job. “It’s not uncommon to generate 40,000 or 50,000 tons of concrete,” he points out.

“There’s a great environmental impact of being able to crush and reuse the material as fill, so the material never has to leave the site,” he continues. “You don’t have thousands of trucks leaving the site with debris, then an identical number of trucks coming back with another fill material. With small, portable equipment, it’s very economical to crush that material to make a specified end product for less cost than the cost of transportation of trucking the material away.”

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