Its Own Identity

Demolition Industry officials are hoping a recent study will help distance demolition debris from construction waste.

In April, the National Demolition Association (NDA), based in Doylestown, Pa., finalized a study that shows the demolition industry reuses or recycles the majority of the waste it generates. Kim Cochran, an environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is producing a report summarizing the study, which she says should be published sometime this summer. According to preliminary results, approximately 75 percent of the more than 115 million tons of debris generated annually is recycled.

EPA asked the NDA to conduct a study in order to update its latest C&D figures from 1998. The association in turn hired the Fairfax, Va.-based solid waste management consulting firm of Gershman, Brickner & Bratton to survey the industry and document its findings.

Michael Taylor, executive director for the NDA, says demolition debris is relatively benign compared to construction debris because of the numerous inspections and codes a building must adhere to prior to use. “Demolition debris is 99.9 percent benign,” Taylor says.

According to the study, conducted in 2005, California produced 29 percent of the country's demolition debris, more than any other state, with Florida and Texas the next highest producers. The study also revealed that nearly 90 percent of the debris from both California and Florida was recycled or reused.

Currently, C&D debris is not federally regulated, but Taylor says this study and the forthcoming final report will be useful in creating EPA programs that support state and local regulation.