C&D recycler survey shows businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19

C&D recycler survey shows businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19

Results from "Construction & Demolition Recycling" survey show businesses are reeling from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

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April 14, 2020

In an effort to quantify the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on C&D recyclers in the U.S., Construction & Demolition Recycling magazine sent out a survey to industry professionals beginning on March 24.

The results paint a stark picture of businesses affected by facility closures, diminished volumes, personnel layoffs and other challenges.

Here are the highlights:

  • 30.65 percent of respondents report having one or more of their facilities ordered closed by state officials or having one or more facilities idled voluntarily by an operational decision.
  • For those businesses that handle industrially generated materials, 19.35 percent say inbound flow has been severely affected, 30.65 percent say inbound flow has been moderately affected, 9.68 percent say inbound flow has been affected on a minor level, and 3.23 percent say inbound flow has not been impacted at all (37.10 percent of respondents responded “not applicable.”)
  • For those businesses that handle office- and retail-generated materials, 20.97 percent say inbound flow has been severely affected, 19.35 percent say inbound flow has been moderately affected, 8.06 percent say inbound flow has been affected on a minor level, and 6.45 percent say inbound flow has not been impacted at all (45.16 percent of respondents responded “not applicable.”)
  • For those businesses that handle residential discarded materials, 20.97 percent say inbound flow has been severely affected, 20.97 percent say inbound flow has been moderately affected, 6.45 percent say inbound flow has been affected on a minor level, and 6.45 percent say inbound flow has not been impacted at all (45.16 percent of respondents responded “not applicable.”)
  • For those businesses that handle material generated at construction or demolition sites, 29.03 percent say inbound flow has been severely affected, 30.65 percent say inbound flow has been moderately affected, 6.45 percent say inbound flow has been affected on a minor level, and 8.06 percent say inbound flow has not been impacted at all (25.81 percent of respondents responded “not applicable.”)
  • Since the escalation of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. in mid-March, 32.26 percent of businesses say layoffs have occurred, 20.97 say layoffs are being considered, 1.61 percent say they are adding staff, and 45.16 percent say no change in personnel levels is anticipated.
  • Since the escalation of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. in mid-March, 66.13 percent of businesses say they have put one or more purchases on hold, 30.65 percent say there has been no change in investments, and 3.23 percent report intending to increase investments because decreased work loads will entail fewer operational disruptions.
  • To communicate operational changes and updates, 73.77 percent of businesses say they are relying on email, 63.93 percent are using telephone communication, 31.15 percent are communicating on their websites, 26.23 percent are using social media, and 27.87 percent are utilizing printed flyers or memos.

As part of the survey, respondents were also asked for their anonymous thoughts on how COVID-19 was affecting their businesses. Here are some of their responses:

“Everyone is holding back due to being unsure of the future. Some construction companies are now even doing their own demo [work] they are so slow.”

“Market pricing is cratering—severely affecting both our inflow and outflow. Our business is off by 70 percent.”

“The biggest impact will be financially. We will see more and more projects put on hold or new projects not even getting started as COVID-19 continues [to spread]. I anticipate many operations will not survive.”

“[We] could not begin spring work as contracted. [There is a] hold on projects with layoffs continuing.”

“With more people at home, our residential curbside collection has increased. Also, more individuals are using this time at home to clean, so temporary dumpster use has increased.”

“This will kill all net income for this year and cost the company in the future to pay for the loss.”