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Waste prevention activities – such as reusing salvaged building materials on your project – not only cut disposal costs but also reduce new material expenses. For additional information, contact the Construction Recycling Program project manager.

Learn how to:

image: jobsite waste
Waste prevention activities not only cut disposal costs but also reduce new material expenses.

Design to prevent waste

A waste management plan should include these strategies:

  • Work with the client and designer to select designs that use materials efficiently.
  • Set waste prevention goals at the beginning of the project and target specific waste-producing activities.
  • Include waste management specifications

Prevent waste on-site

There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of waste produced on site.

  • Ask suppliers to take back or buy substandard, rejected or unused items.
  • Request that vendorsDownload PDF 19 K deliver materials in returnable containers.
  • Review and modify storage-handling practices to reduce material loss from weather and other damage.

Purchase to prevent waste

Implement purchasing strategies that prevent waste.

  • Purchase good-quality, previously used building materials, such as cabinets, doors, and fixtures.
  • Choose materials that are delivered with minimal or no packaging.
  • Re-evaluate estimating procedures to ensure that the correct amount of each material is delivered to the site.

Reuse and salvage

Reuse items on site or donate and/or sell salvageable items to cut waste and reduce supply costs. When using a demolition contractor, specify reuse and salvage in the contract.

  • Identify potentially reusable or salvageable items before demolition.
  • Determine how salvaged items will be removed and whether they will be reused, donated or sold.
  • Contact salvage companies and non-profit organizations that purchase or accept donated building materials.
  • Inform the demolition crew of salvage procedures and expectations.

Select a salvage company

When choosing a salvage company, be sure to ask the following questions.

  • What materials do you accept?
  • Are there minimum or maximum material volumes?
  • Will you pick up the materials at the job site?
  • Is there a charge for pick-up service?
  • Will you provide containers for large volumes?
  • Do you charge a container rental fee?
  • Will you pay for the materials?

Other reuse options

Many companies have success with less-formal reuse options.

  • Advertise reusable items in the newspaper
  • Arrange for materials dealers to collect materials directly from your jobsite
  • Conduct a "yard sale" at the job site to sell reusable items
  • Allow workers to remove materials for their own use
  • Post signs offering free materials to the general public

Avoid penalties for illegal dumping and unsecured loads

  • Contractors and property owners can be fined up to $5,000 for illegal disposal of construction materials or other debris. To ensure that your construction materials are managed properly:
    • Always know where materials go when they are removed from the jobsite
    • Require disposal, salvage and recycling receipts for all materials removed from the jobsite
    • Before the project begins, inform your contractors and subcontractors that you require these receipts
    • Keep these receipts and provide copies to your project manager or the property owner
  • The fine is $194 for transporting an unsecured load. If an item falls off of your vehicle and causes bodily injury, you will be charged with a gross misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to $5,000 and may include jail time. For tips on how to secure your load, visit the Secure Your Load website.
  • For more information about illegal dumping, visit King County's illegal dumping website. To report an illegal dumpsite:
    • Call 206-296-SITE (7483)
    • Report on-line
  • To find out if your contractor is insured and bonded, call the Labor and Industries Hotline at 1-800-647-0982 or visit their Web site: http://www.lni.wa.gov/ external link .
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