How much would you save if you recycled two buildings?

I’m sure there are people out there wanting an answer to this question!!! Read on to find out!


Photo from Google Images

US$319 000 is the answer, and I found this out in the regional roundup section of BioCycle (1), as I was screening this morning. The news item was reporting on how contractors in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, recycled 98.8% of two buildings during demolition. The buildings had to be demolished to make way to the new Green Square Complex, which is a two-block sustainable development project that includes an office building for the state’s Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) and an expansion to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. As it was a sustainable development project wanting LEED certification, recycling the demolished buildings was an attractive option.

To help obtain points for LEED certification on the new structure, extensive efforts were made to recycle as much as possible during demolition. Contractors successfully recycled and salvaged 98.8% (5 502, out of 4 556 tons) of the building. Based on landfill tip fees of US$33/ton, the disposal cost of these materials would have been about US$150 000 plus hauling fees of $40 000. When considering revenue from recycling some materials like metal for example, and lower tip fees for processing others like wood for example, the site generated a net revenue of $169 000 (hauling cost subtracted). The demolition project therefore had a total cost savings of $319 000 due to its recovery and recycling efforts.

Let’s hope other building contractors in the USA and elsewhere in the world will see the financial benefit of recycling, rather than throwing away materials during demolition and follow the example of the North Carolina contractors.


(1) BioCycle, 2008, vol 49 (12), Pg 16.

One thought on “How much would you save if you recycled two buildings?

  1. Lance Tankman April 3, 2013 / 12:24 am

    I have a good friend that is a demolition contractor in coquitlam and after reading this i would want to ask him the question of are we doing this? If not, why not? Seems like a very good idea. Thanks for posting!

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