C&D Recycling Forum: Taking on the Issues

C&D Recycling Forum: Taking on the Issues

From thieves to zealous regulators, C&D recyclers and demo contractors face no shortage of worries.

October 5, 2012
CDR Staff
C&D Recycling Forum

Fending off metal thieves and keeping the door open for boiler fuel markets have been among the challenges faced by demolition contractors and C&D recyclers in 2012.

At a session the C&D Recycling Forum, held in Long Beach, Calif., in late September, demolition contractor Rich Lorenz of Central Environmental Services, Orlando, Fla., warned attendees that any scrap metal they leave unprotected might be targeted by thieves.

“What we have is an epidemic,” Lorenz said of the commonplace occurrence of scrap metal theft in the past several years. “If you have these metals on your site and they’re visible—that’s an opportunity for thieves.”

Lorenz told attendees that in just the three years from 2009 to 2011, there had been some 31,000 property insurance claims filed in the United States pertaining to metals theft.

His advice to attendees: “Don’t be cheap. We’ve spent $15,000 on [security] cameras, we’ve got more lighting and we’ve got dogs in our yard.” Lorenz also noted that municipalities and contractors in Central Florida no longer mark structures to be demolished with a bright orange spray-painted letter “D.” Remarked Lorenz, “It was like saying to thieves, ‘Come on in—it’s free.’”

Jason Haus of Dem-Con, Shakopee Minn., provided an update on several regulatory and organization-related issues of concern to contractors and recyclers.

Haus, who is active with both the National Demolition Association and the Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA), started with an update on pending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that are affecting boiler and fuel end markets for scrap wood.

Haus indicated the CMRA, as part of an informal alliance of several trade groups, is working to have processed scrap wood considered a “traditional fuel” as part of the EPA’s definition of biomass fuels in its Non-Hazardous Secondary Material (NHSM) rule revisions. The EPA, says Haus, has proposed that recyclers instead must petition the EPA to use process scrap wood as a fuel on a case-by-case basis.

According to Haus, the CMRA has been collecting data which show that scrap wood products “have lower contamination [levels] than traditional fuels.”

Another issue of concern to the CMRA and its members has been revisions to the scrap materials diversion scorecard in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) 2012, the proposed update to the rating system used by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The latest version appears skewed toward deconstruction and re-use. “As of now, deconstruction has only certain applications where it works,” Haus commented.

As well, materials used for landfill alternative daily cover (ADC) are not counted toward the recycling rate. Haus urged attendees who operate mixed C&D facilities or who work on LEED projects to comment on the proposed changes. “We really made a difference last time,” said Haus regarding the comment period that occurred before the current LEED scorecard was approved.

Haus indicated that an alternative emerging to the USGBC LEED system is the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition, www.betterbuildingstandards.com.

The CMRA also has introduced a facility certification process for mixed C&D plant operators. The goal is to offer customers “standardized reporting and reliability” as well as to encourage recyclers to operate to a uniform standard. Haus said it is not an indictment against any of the four mixed C&D recyclers operating in his region of Minnesota, but “all four calculate their [recycling] numbers in different ways.”

The C&D Recycling Forum was Sept. 23-25 at the Hilton Long Beach & Executive Meeting Center, Long Beach, Calif.