C&D Recycling Forum: Several Perspectives

C&D Recycling Forum: Several Perspectives

An architect, a general contractor and a solid waste company discuss the role of sustainability in waste diversion.

October 12, 2012
CDR Staff
C&D Recycling Forum

According to presenters at the recently concluded C&D Recycling Forum, the pressure is on for architects and general contractors to incorporate green building practices into their projects. Efforts being made decrease waste generation, reuse materials and divert debris have been driven largely by the growth in sustainability programs, and it is having an impact on demolition contractors and C&D recyclers.

Brian DiFatta, Waste Management

Attendees of the 2012 C&D Recycling Forum heard several different perspectives on the subject of sustainability and how it is ultimately driving the C&D recycling industry.

Shellie Collier, president of architecture firm Homage Design, Los Angeles, laid the groundwork of the keynote session by telling attendees how designers and architects can reduce, reuse and recycle in their project designs and waste management plans.

“Be considerate during the design phase so you can reduce the amount of wood and drywall wasted in a project,” said Collier. She explained how advanced framing can cut down on the amount of wood used in construction.

She suggested designing with a 24-foot OC (output compare) module Advantages, that includes the use of less lumber, less labor to build and less thermal bridging that allows for more wall insulation. She warned that while this technique may make more efficient use of materials, it may drive up design and engineering costs.

Panelizing and prefabrication are other techniques that reduce waste. She suggested deconstruction of buildings to salvage components for reuse.

Ted van der Linden , director of sustainability, DPR Construction, San Francisco, discussed his firm’s transition toward becoming a leader in green building. According to van der Linden, the company, the 24th largest general contractor in the United States, has experienced significant growth in green projects over the last eight years   from 1 percent of its overall business in 2004 to now trending to more than 80 percent of its projects today. In 2011, 75 percent of DPR’s project were considered “green” generating $3 billion in sales.

Brian DiFatta, national business development manager of Waste Management Sustainability Services, Windsor, Conn., outlined the footprint of parent company Houston-based Waste Management (WM).

“Our customers rely on us to keep them in compliance,” said DiFatta. “Our process includes identifying and managing individual materials as needed for projects to meet diversion goals and municipal requirements.”

He said WM focuses on three core principles:

  • Know more about your customer  
  • Extract more value from material  
  • Innovate and continuously improve   

He added that WM “understands that sustainability means continuous improvements.”
He also outlined what he calls the “Five Forces Driving Corporate Sustainability Management:”

  • brand competition;
  • risk disclosure;   
  • regulatory compliance;   
  • innovation; and   
  • good business   

He noted, “It’s got to be practical if it is going to be sustainable.”

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