Guide to Reducing the Amount of Waste Generated During a Demolition or Construction Project

reduce waste from demolition and construction projects

Reusing, recycling, donating, and selling materials are all great ways to reduce the amount of waste generated during construction and demolition (C&D) projects.

Reduce the amount of C&D debris you haul to the landfill to save money and help the environment.

Below are several methods for reducing the amount of C&D debris your project generates.

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Reduce Waste on Construction Sites


Utilize odd-sized scrap wood in small spaces or for other purposes on-site to minimize waste.

Organize pieces by size and material to make them easy-to-find when you need them.


Save any drywall cutoffs you have; they can be used in small spaces.

Most drywall suppliers will back-haul scraps and use them in new drywall production. Just ask.

Solvents & Paint

Opt for water-based or low volatile organic compound paint, joint compounds, sealants, and adhesives.

Use lidded containers to store these in order to prevent product evaporation.

Prepare small test batches of solvents and coatings, and reclaim products for reuse whenever possible. If not, work with a recycling company.

Organize painting schedules so that there is minimal need to clean equipment, whether between color changes or shifts.

Find out more: 5 Tips for Construction Debris Disposal

Reduce Waste on Demolition Sites

Deconstruction is the careful disassembly of structures in order to salvage materials that can be reused or recycled.

Deconstruction is labor-intensive but the economic and environmental benefits make it worthwhile in many cases.

Learn more: Deconstruction vs Demolition: When to Deconstruct a Building

Commonly Salvaged Materials

  • Brick
  • Wood
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Cabinets
  • Trim

Reuse, Donate, or Sell

Most scrap materials can be reused or refurbished in some way, and so can a majority of functional architectural components.

This is an extremely cost-efficient practice, as it minimizes or eliminates disposal fees and purchase costs.

Save reusable components for your next project.

If you don't have a use for them and don't know anyone else who does either, you can donate or sell the materials instead.

There are so many items that can be salvaged from a demolition or remodeling project.

Doors, cabinets, fixtures, hardware, bannisters, trim, tile, bricks—all these things can be reused.

Protect the Environment

Not only does it save you money to salvage materials, but it also diverts waste from the landfill and reduces pollution, which is extremely important.

It's important for homeowners and business owners to do everything they can to minimize the amount of waste they send to the dump.

Recycle, reuse, refurbish, donate, or sell before considering the landfill.


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