UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Identifying barriers to waste diversion : improving collection and quality of construction and demolition waste flow information Sianchuk, Robert Alexander


The majority of US construction and demolition (C&D) wastes flows are currently landfilled, which represents a significant source of underutilized resources and environmental degradation. Growing public concerns have increased the demand for C&D waste product recovery firms to reduce the landfilling of C&D wastes. Despite C&D wastes being one of the US’s largest solid waste flows, there is a lack of collection and reporting on US construction sector wastes. This is disconcerting to waste product recovery firms who would benefit from C&D waste flow information to support their exploration of wants and uses of potential C&D wastes, development of competitive business strategies and operational planning. This thesis contended that the lack of information on the US construction sector’s C&D waste flows is a significant barrier to the optimal development of the C&D waste product recovery market. This thesis sought to address concerns over the collection and quality of information inherent in currently available C&D waste estimates for the US construction sector. The second chapter addressed the high levels of uncertainty and significant methodological shortfalls in existing national C&D waste estimates. A novel framework was developed to improve collection methods and the resolution of the data collected on C&D waste flows and composition. The framework included; measurement of data at the construction site, use of standardized reporting procedures, differentiation of renovation construction and renovation demolition wastes, accounting of construction materials stocked in buildings, characterization of materials at a product level and implementation of regulatory mechanisms. In the third chapter, a national stocks and C&D waste flows model was developed to determine structural wood product use, including softwood lumber, softwood plywood, OSB, glulam, I-joists and LVL, in US single family residences between 1950 and 2008. The results from this model demonstrated a product level of resolution in stocks and C&D waste flow estimates which revealed the variability of waste composition over time. The methodology used to develop the stock and flows model may also be applied to estimate other C&D waste products, provided sufficient data were available.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International