Recycling Construction & Demolition (C&D) Debris – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How

Scratched Abstract BackgroundConstruction and Demolition (C&D) debris is generated from various types of construction projects. The purpose of this article is to share some insight regarding recycling of C&D materials.


All types of contractors and projects have C&D debris that they need to dispose of.  We process materials from commercial and residential contractors, remodelers, demolition specialists, roofers, homeowners and more. Some examples of projects where these materials come from include:

  • Tenant improvements for a commercial space
  • Renovation of an apartment complex
  • Remodeling a 1960’s home to meet current code
  • Demolition of a building or structureand replacing it with a Built Green project with LEEDS standards
  • Remodeling a kitchen
  • Site clearance (brush, trees and stumps) for a residential development
  • Roadwork (concrete slabs, concrete and asphalt chunks, asphalt millings, scrap metal)

There is no minimum quantity required to be able to recycle C&D materials.  For this reason, C&D materials from all types and sizes of jobs can (and should) be recycled.


The main C&D materials that are recycled are:

  • Bricks, concrete, and other masonry materials
  • Rock
  • Wood, including nonhazardous painted, and coated wood and wood products
  • Plaster
  • Drywall
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Non-asbestos insulation
  • Roofing shingles and other roof coverings
  • Reclaimed asphalt pavement
  • Plastics
  • Electrical wiring and components that do not contain hazardous substances
  • Piping
  • Brush trees stumps and land clearing

These materials do not need to be sorted on the jobsite – they can all be placed/hauled in the same container for recycling.  The contractor can separate the materials if they desire, but it is not required.


Planning for how to handle C&D debris from a project is the first step.  Estimating the type and quantity of C&D materials will make it easier to facilitate recycling.  Because jobs happen in phases, the type and quantity of materials often changes over time.  Most contractors have materials to recycle from the first day of the project all the way through completion.


It is important to understand that not all recycling facilities are created equal.  Some facilities accept all of the materials listed above, but only recycle a small portion.  Other facilities have extensive sorting processes and work to recycle as much as possible.  At United Recycling & Container, we strive for the latter.  Read about the results from our audit by Seattle Public Utilities, confirming our high quality sorting processes and proven results for recycling.

At United Recycling & Container, we accept materials to be brought to our facility in Snohomish, WA by third party haulers.  We also provide large container service throughout King and Snohomish Counties.  The basics of our container service are:

  1. We drop off a recycle container at the job site.
  2. We pick up the container, with no sorting required.
  3. We haul the container to our facility and begin processing the materials for recycling.


Some municipalities (for example, the City of Seattle) have regulations that require contractors to recycle C&D debris.  In other cases, the owner of the project (either residential or commercial) is interested in reducing the amount of waste from their project, and requires their contractors to recycle the C&D debris.  For LEED and Built Green projects, there is a requirement for construction and demolition waste management planning (and recycling).

In addition, recycling C&D materials is environmentally responsible and makes economic sense.  Recycling materials reduces landfill waste, creates new jobs and is always cheaper than a public dump.


Call us – we will walk you through the recycling process to help you minimize waste and cost.  We look forward to hearing from you — no matter if you are in the planning phase of a house demolition or if you are half-way through a remodeling project.  Just remember, taking C&D materials to the garbage dump is not the only option for disposal.

, , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply