The broken windows, rusted metal beams and sooty bricks that make old buildings look so menacing are the very attributes that give them dollar value. In the view of the growing construction and demolition (C&D) debris recycling industry, blight is not only a vital resource - but a profitable commodity.
Today's waste entrepreneurs use heavy-duty, industrial shear shredders and tub grinders to reduce and process C&D materials. These behemoth mobile and stationary systems can make mince meat out of metals, plastics, old tires and hazardous materials. Right now, says Ken Lewis of Shred-Tech, Cambridge, Ontario, business is booming - and tomorrow looks very bright indeed. In fact, countless waste haulers are seeing green in the piles of rubble that litter construction zones.
According to many experts, C&D processing and recycling promises to be one of the 21st century's biggest growth areas for the waste industry.
One impetus for the industry's recent growth is the trend to rejuvenate city neighborhoods. Old inner-city cores and blue collar neighborhoods are too run-down to be renovated, Lewis said. Eventually, they will be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up.