UBC Graduate Research

Construction & demolition (C&D) waste practices Hosseiniteshnizi, Zahrasadat (Zahra)


C&D waste reduction and diversion is an integral part of UBC’s Zero Waste Action Plan, which in turn is a high priority for Campus Sustainability. It is estimated that UBC Project Services manages about 60-80 “special” projects per year. These are typically renovation projects that fall between large construction projects, and small projects. Large projects generally have good waste tracking due to the requirements in LEED and REAP green building rating systems to which most large projects must conform. Waste from small projects is tracked because it is managed by UBC Building Operations. However, waste diversion is not tracked for the “special” projects. The small size of the projects and private contractors involved makes detailed waste tracking more cumbersome. In support of UBC’s Zero Waste Action Plan, to decrease C&D waste disposal and increase waste diversion for medium sized renovation project with smaller contractors, the purpose of this initiative was to develop a practical waste tracking and reporting method; and promote C&D waste reduction and diversion for contractors. The study is consisting of two separate parts: 1. Information Collection from contractors 2. Research and identify solutions for waste tracking/reduction and diversion for this type of projects. This report reflects the results of the first part of the study. In this part general contractors and demolition/waste management subcontractors working on-campus were interviewed regarding their waste management and waste tracking practices and their methods and strategies for waste reduction and waste diversion. The key findings in this study are as follow: - General contractors are not very aware or concerned about waste management as they assign demolition/waste management sub-contractors to take care of demolition waste. - Tracking waste is easy by analyzing the waybills from landfills/transfer stations/recycling facilities, yet contractors do not consider it to be necessary in “special” projects - There is usually not enough space on-site to set up separate bins, but waste can be categorized in different piles, cans, plastic bags - Waste is not categorized by their quality - Reusing is rare due to the following reasons: Owners/architects prefer new materials; salvage materials might not meet required quality or quantity; in some cases, it is against BC construction codes; lack of storage area; lack of market; time constraints. - Materials which are not usually diverted are: Small amounts of waste, plastic, mixed small pieces of waste, bonded systems, food waste. The following recommendations are proposed as a result of this study: - Mandate waste tracking and a minimum waste diversion in the general contract, proved by waybills - Provide standard and easy form to fill in both electronic/online and hardcopy formats. - Educate Contractors and workers through some courses - Provide small size bins, which clearly shows the type of waste that should put in them - Expand organic composting for large construction sites - Conduct studies on un-recyclable waste, e.g. plastic, mixed small pieces of waste, bonded systems - Hire one demolition sub-contractor for multiple projects on-campus o Carry waste from various site together o Reduces dump fees by reduced cost for larger quantities and also separated loads o Less space is needed on campus for setting up bins - Expand the transfer station on-campus to accept C&D waste of “Special” project o Promote waste separation on site o Promote waste categorization based on the quality o Keep small quantities until they reach an acceptable amount - Provide a list of preferred sub-contractor list to general contractors. Preferred sub-contractors should: o Have high waste diversion records o Report waste generation and diversion rates, supported by waybills o Train workers, preferably through UBC courses o Work with preferred transfer station and recycling facilities It is recommended that preferred sub-contractors: o Use pick-ups for small loads rather than trucks o Use, sell or donate reusable materials o Categorize waste based on quality o Use innovative methods for unrecyclable materials o Separate waste on-site o Take each type of material to designated recycling facilities/transfer stations o For small quantities of waste: - Take them as mixed load to transfer stations with high diversion rate - Store them until it reaches to an amount that fills a truck/pick-up → potentially in campus transfer station Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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