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C&D Recycling for DIYers

Building-related construction and demolition debris accounts for nearly 26% of non-industrial waste in the US.  Highland Park has an ordinance requiring 75% of construction debris to be recycled on all new construction, demolition, and renovation projects over 2,500 square feet.  There are no requirements for recycling construction waste on smaller projects, such as renovating a bathroom, kitchen, or basement, but there are local resources available for making these projects more efficient and sustainable.

The first important step when planning for a sustainable deconstruction project is to assess the assets you have and confirm the materials you need. 

  • Assets – Many Highland Park homes contain stunning and well-crafted features, such as fireplace mantels, solid wood flooring, detailed doors and trim, period light fixtures, and built-in cabinetry.  There are many professional designers and fellow DIY-consumers who place a high value on such assets, so re-selling them yourself or donating them to resale outlets may be the most effective way to ensure they are not landfilled. 
  • Materials – Among the most frequently donated construction materials are flooring and tiles (flooring and wall), often due to customers’ purchasing more than their project actually needs.  This guide provides helpful tips for planning a deconstruction project, chief among them being to follow the old adage, ‘measure twice, cut once’!

The next step is to determine where these valuable assets and materials can be delivered.  The Habitat for Humanity ReStore and the ReBuilding Exchange are both options for material donations, and as non-profits the donation may be eligible for a tax deduction.

Lastly, for other construction waste that may be recyclable but not re-usable (such as drywall), residents whose refuse service is provided by Lakeshore Recycling Systems (generally all residences under four units), can request a special pick up of construction waste simply by contacting the company. When making your request, be sure to discuss any options or requirements for sorting the debris by type (i.e., wood, metal, drywall), which may ensure a higher recycling rate.