By: Marc Spiegel, Rubicon Global

Attendees at this year’s Greenbuild Conference & Expo are no strangers to the idea that construction and demolition (C&D) recycling and diversion from the landfill in your project is a cost-saving, not a cost center, if done properly.

The results speak for themselves and have been replicated on countless C&D projects over the years. But how well has this message been heard by the home and commercial property builders who have yet to put diversion at the center of their work? Better yet, how is this message being disseminated to executives who think more strategically about giving their company an upper-hand?

There is a misconception among some sectors of the general public, as well as numerous construction companies, that diverting materials away from the landfill and into recycling streams is more expensive than simply disposing of C&D waste in a landfill.

It’s my belief, however, that C&D recycling and diversion can be a cost-saving, not a cost center, for almost all C&D projects. All a project needs is the right plan, knowledge of infrastructure, and the ability to do something differently from what they have done for decades.

Recycling is a Cost-Saving

Consider LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a green building certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). For a building to become LEED-certified it must use resources (many of which are nonrenewable) more efficiently than they would if they were simply trying to stick to a standard building code—and in most cases, for a building to be LEED-certified from the moment it’s completed, it must divert the vast majority of its C&D waste from the landfill and into recycling streams.

Earlier this year, State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia received LEED Gold certification after partnering with Rubicon to recycle 12,500 seats from the arena as part of a refurbishment project. The project resulted in 64 tons of recyclable material being identified.

Green buildings can have lower maintenance costs, can significantly cut down on waste, and can be better for a developer’s bottom line. This is no trivial thing.

How to Divert C&D Materials

This isn’t just true of LEED buildings. C&D recycling and diversion is a cost-saving regardless of a building or other construction project’s certification, as materials that would otherwise have been sent to landfill have a monetary value that you can leverage.

When you recycle C&D waste, the cost of recycling these materials is often less than the cost of standard disposal fees because you receive some of the value back from recycling these materials; especially valuable ones, such as aluminum, copper, and other non-ferrous metals.

To determine how you can save money on your waste disposal fees on your next C&D project (while also doing something good for the environment), get in touch with an expert and ask them how they can help you recover in your area. Typically this consists of metals, wood, concrete, and gypsum, but more can be added to this list depending on the scope of your project.

Remember, you don’t need to spend more to be a more sustainable business, and do the right thing for the environment.

About the Author: Marc Spiegel is a Co-Founder and Head of Construction & Demolition Project Solutions at Rubicon Global, a technology company born in the waste and recycling industry. You can contact Marc at marc.spiegel@rubiconglobal.com.

We are excited to offer our valued Greenbuild social media community a chance to enter to win a free 4-day Greenbuild 2019 conference pass, PLUS a free ticket to Greenbuild Celebration featuring Collective Soul!

Greenbuild is the largest annual event for green building professionals worldwide to learn and source cutting edge solutions to improve resilience, sustainability, and quality of life in our buildings, cities, and communities. It’s where inspiration ignites, relationships cultivate, knowledge transfers and the leaders developing the next generation of standards, policies, and partnerships gather to turn the promise of a higher living standard into a reality for all.

How to Enter:

  • Use hashtag #WhyIGreenbuild in a tweet, Facebook post, Instagram post, or LinkedIn post sharing a 60-second video explaining what green building means to you. For example, share what motivated you to get into the green building or sustainability industry, your mission, or what you hope to see for the future of the industry.
  • Post your video with the hashtag #WhyIGreenbuild. We will watch all of the videos and choose one winner per week leading up to the conference. Winners to announced October 31, 2019 on the Greenbuild social media channels.

Your Prize:

  • 1 4-day Greenbuild International Conference and Expo conference pass and 1 ticket to Greenbuild Celebration! A total value of $1,500.

Contest Rules:

  • The contest is live until Thursday, October 31, 2019.
  • Please mention #WhyIGreenbuild and #Greenbuild19 in your submission. We can only see posts that are tagged!
  • You must follow @Greenbuild on the social media platform that you are posting to in order to be considered.
  • Multiple entries in a single day will not be accepted. Posting duplicate, or near duplicate, updates or links is a violation of the Twitter Rules and jeopardizes search quality.
  • Do not create multiple accounts to post the same submission to the contest more than once. Anyone found to use multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible.
  • You are responsible for any and all travel expenses.
  • Video submissions may be used in Greenbuild marketing.

Watch a short video by our friend Mahesh Ramanujam, CEO of U.S. Greenbuilding Council for some of your own inspiration:

The future of the human race is interlaced with the future of the planet, and the sustainable practices we celebrate and advance at Greenbuild remind us that our success as sustainability advocates, practitioners and professionals is more than a movement, it is a responsibility.

Good luck!

Cheers,

The #Greenbuild19 Team

www.greenbuildexpo.com

Showcasing some of the most impactful success stories from Greenbuild 2018.

ISSUE

Each year, thousands of green building professionals from across the globe unite to learn,
share, and inspire – with the goal of advancing the green building movement. While we work
diligently to engage our vendors behind the scenes to make the show more sustainable, there
is always an opportunity to create more meaningful engagement with all of our stakeholders.

ACTIONS

• This year Greenbuild partnered with Waste Management to help us engage and train our
amazing volunteers about the waste management process. Through back-of-house tours and
daily training, our volunteers were well versed in “Trash Talk.”

• Before arriving on-site, 66% of attendees pledged to take at least one of the actions in our
pledge options, suggestions for sustainable actions tailored to the host city and the show.
Additionally, thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and Greenbuild participants made their
pledges onsite at our Sustainability Hub.

• In an effort to make our pledges a bit more meaningful, we coordinated with the local host
committee to include

Read the rest of the sustainability stories in the Greenbuild 2018 Sustainability Report here.

Greenbuild continues to prioritize sustainability and demonstrate leadership when it comes to greening the conference and events industry. This year’s conference will take place November 20-22 in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open. Get your tickets here.

Showcasing some of the most impactful success stories from Greenbuild 2018.

ISSUE

Humans create a staggering amount of waste. Traditionally there have been three ways to dispose of waste: recycle, compost, or send it to landfill. However, waste management markets are evolving. Cities across the U.S. have historically shipped much of their used paper, plastics and other scrap materials to China for processing. As part of a broad anti-pollution campaign, China announced in the summer of 2017 that it no longer wanted to import “foreign garbage.” Since January 1, 2018, China has banned imports of various types of plastic and paper, and tightened standards for materials it does accept, drying up the markets for standard recyclable materials. Now more than ever, we must look at methods to reduce the resources and materials used to produce Greenbuild.

ACTIONS

In 2018, a significant source of waste reduction resulted from a size and quantity reduction of the printed Greenbuild Expo Guide. The size of the guide was reduced from a standard 8.5” x 11” to a 6” x 9” booklet, and attendees were asked to indicate if they wanted a printed guide during registration, significantly reducing overages in printing.

In 2018, Greenbuild registered for a TRUE Zero Waste Certification, after achieving Platinum certification in 2017. To achieve this, the lifecycle of the products and materials used to produce the show and those used by show partners had to be reevaluated. For the second year in a row, Greenbuild achieved TRUE Platinum certification. In order to meet the requirements of the certification, Greenbuild was able to identify our first TRUE Waste Diversion Rate, which differs from a traditional diversion rate in that it factors in reduction and reuse weights. Please see the case study from below for further information.

The TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Zero Waste certification system goes far beyond measuring and tracking ways in which waste is reused, recycled, or composted to calculating how waste is diverted from landfill, incineration (WTE) and the environment. TRUE encourages projects to track waste that was avoided in the first place. The rating system recognizes reductions based on waste diversion calculations, provided that the modifications are documented from an established baseline, representing previous operations.

The motto of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” is familiar to many, but the emphasis has historically been on the latter two, leaving reduction as the oft-forgotten of the three “Rs.” Including reduction as a part of the diversion, calculations encourage projects to identify tactics that eliminate unnecessary waste before it is created. Waste reduction is prioritized in TRUE because it reduces the need to extract virgin resources from the environment in the first place. It also reduces all the other impacts in the supply chain such as transportation and production. Thus, a reduction has the most benefit to the environment over reuse, recycling, and compost.

This year Greenbuild looked to identify our first TRUE Waste Diversion Rate, in which we tracked and then factored in waste reduction and reuse weights.

Read the rest of the sustainability stories in the Greenbuild 2018 Sustainability Report here.

Greenbuild continues to prioritize sustainability and demonstrate leadership when it comes to greening the conference and events industry. This year’s conference will take place November 20-22 in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open. Get your tickets here.