Post-Consumer Recycled Material

Video: Jobsite Recycling

Green Job Sites Have Less Waste And More Recycling

Grinding leftover wood, drywall, and cement can be done right on the job site with a multi-use portable grinding machine. The wood chips and ruble can be used as erosion control (wood chips), soil amendment (ground dry wall), and road base (cement, asphalt shingles, and drywall).

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Produced by Rob Wotzak and Peter Yost

Peter Yost: Today we’re in Mapleton, Georgia—it’s just outside of Atlanta—and we’re here at Packer Industries and Patterson Services. Ken Patterson, thanks a lot for talking to us today.

Ken: Thank you, Peter. What we do is manage construction waste for local building contractors. We decided to build a small machine that’s compact, easily transportable, that would do a variety of materials, and that would also get the metal out when it processed the materials.

P: So, you’ve got things like wood fiber—that takes a certain type of machine. And you’ve got things like bricks. It’s not easy to design a machine that can process things from cardboard up to concrete blocks.

K: Absolutely. It isn’t easy at all. You need something with really high torque.

P: So, we’re on the job site. We’ve rounded all this stuff up, including wood waste, engineered wood as well, solid sawn, and we’ve got gypsum board. So, what do we do with those materials?

K: The wood waste, first of all, can be used as erosion control. That’s a big savings for the builder.

P: Drywall is just about 93 percent calcium sulfate or gypsum, and 7 percent paper, so it’s a pretty good material to use as a soil amendment.

K: Oh, absolutely. It’s a very good material. And then when you finish with the wood chips and everything else, you incorporate all that back into the [unintelligible] and you have all the other cellulose that goes into it.

P: And how much of the waste stream by percent can we handle with onsite grinding?

K: You can actually recycle about 98 percent by volume.

P: That’s excellent. Taking materials that some people think of as garbage and using them as a beneficial use on the site, is that an easy thing to do [unintelligible]?

K: That’s not an easy thing to do at all, Peter. That has been a large hurdle. What we’ve tried to do in this state is do a lot of studies with the university and a few other people—US EPA—to show that you can use that material. We’ve also done studies with the state of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even in other countries. A few other states like North Carolina have rules about waste. If you cut a piece of [unintelligible] off, that’s considered [unintelligible] and that has to go to a landfill by law.

P: So, when you say MSW, that’s municipal solid waste, and that’s a whole different animal than construction waste.

K: That’s absolutely correct.

P: Well, that’s just one more example of where green building may involve some rule changes, some code changes, so we can actually do [unintelligible]…the right thing.

K: That’s absolutely correct.

P: We just spent some time at your operations about 10 minutes from here, so I want you to tell me a little bit about how you practice what you preach.

K: These granite blocks came from an old railroad abutment.

P: I see some parallel beams here; you can’t tell me those are salvage.

K: Yes, those came out of a local apartment complex.

P: Lining the side of your driveway—more granite blocks.

K: All the granite blocks are salvage.

P: One of the keys to your business is that when people come to you looking for information, you provide it pretty readily because they turn into a customer if you do.

K: That is correct. That’s our business model here. We’re totally open. We provide anybody with any information they want about what we do.

P: It always turns into more business for you [unintelligible].

K: Absolutely.

P: Well, Ken, I can’t n’t thank you enough for showing us your operations and even your own house.

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Deconstructing Seattle’s Deconstruction Movement

Posted on May 28 2009 by Richard Defendorf

Making ecological sense of building deconstruction has been easier than reckoning with its economics. But the Seattle area is giving salvage a serious shot

Financial considerations aside, it isn’t that hard to come up with good reasons, including ecological ones, for salvaging material from buildings that would otherwise be demolished and end up in landfill.

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Image Credits:

  1. Greenleaf Construction Inc.

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Luis de Garrido’s Prefab Green Box

Posted on Apr 21 2009 by Richard Defendorf

One of the featured displays at the Construmat building showcase in Barcelona is the Spanish architect’s transportable garden house

Green Box, a “garden” house billed as the latest in sustainable design from Spanish architect Luis de Garrido, is a big wedge of green prefab whose midsection is flipped upward to create a right-triangle tower.

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Image Credits:

  1. Luis de Garrido

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Innovative Recycled-Content Furnishings

Posted on Apr 21 2009 by Annette Stelmack

A Breath of Fresh Air from Product Designers

Today, when you walk into most retail furniture stores, you find furnishings that contain formaldehydeChemical found in many building products; most binders used for manufactured wood products are formaldehyde compounds. Reclassified by the United Nations International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2004 as a “known human carcinogen." and volatile organic compounds (VOCVolatile organic compound. An organic compound that evaporates readily into the atmosphere; as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are organic compounds that volatize and then become involved in photochemical smog production.)s and are resource intensive to manufacturer. More than likely, many are also imported with minimal environmental regulations. In recent years, innovative furniture designers have been working hard to change this process of manufacturing, introducing products made with high recycled content, reclaimed materials, and low-emitting adhesives and finishes. Some are even recyclable at the end of their life spans.

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