Reduce And Recycle That Rubble

Officials at the Metro Waste Authority (MWA), Des Moines, Iowa, are drilling a message into builders and private waste haulers: It's high time to reduce and recycle construction and demolition (C&D) debris.

To that end, the city has launched an assistance and educational program for builders and is encouraging job-site waste contractors to recycle. Currently, C&D represents a sizable chunk of the waste processed at the city's Metro Park East Landfill - approximately 12 percent or 50,000 tons annually (see chart). Throughout Iowa, more than 250,000 tons of C&D debris are generated yearly.

"Before the demolition process begins, any organization can take a few minutes and identify the necessary steps for managing and reducing their demolition waste," explained Teree Caldwell-Johnson, MWA's executive director. "Our Waste Options team works closely with business executives, contractors, developers, architects and residents to address demolition recycling opportunities."

So far, MWA can cite bottom-line results. For example, by recycling its C&D debris from a 1993 construction project, Des Moines-based The Principal Financial Group saved more than $40,000 in landfill disposal fees and reduced by 65 percent the total cubic yards taken to local landfills.

In addition, MWA has taken care to practice what it preaches. Two years ago, the authority constructed Iowa's first Regional Collection Center (RCC) for household hazardous waste. "It was the perfect case study for our C&D debris management program," said Kevin Officer, environmental specialist. "We worked closely with our contractor to separate and recycle 85 percent of the waste generated during construction."

Construction recycling on the job-site was a relatively new concept for the Koester Construction Co. However, following the RCC project, it became a standard for the firm. "It was cost-effective and relatively easy for us to recycle the RCC waste. There is a little more time involved, but as disposal fees go up and the container rates increase, recycling becomes more and more economical," explained Steve Koester.

At the RCC project's end, more than 30 tons of concrete and cement block were separated for reuse as fill material by a local business. More than 2.5 tons of scrap wood were collected and recycled by Andrew Pallet Co., Des Moines. The Alter Scrap Metal Co., also of Des Moines, received 1.25 tons of scrap metal (ferrous/nonferrous) from the RCC project. Finally, more than a half ton of cardboard was collected and later recycled by a local processor.

MWA staff later calculated that their hauling and disposal budget was cut by more than one-third due to recycling.

Other cities considering implementing a C&D debris reduction and recycling program can take their cue from MWA, which offers a packet of informational materials and technical assistance.

For more information on MWA's Build It! SMART (Save Materials And Recycle Today) program, contact: Kevin Officer, Environmental Specialist, MWA, 521 E. Locust St., Des Moines, Iowa 50309-1911. (515) 244-0021. Fax: (515) 244-9477.

* Al-jon. 1100 loader and landfill compactor. Contact: Jim Knowles, 14599 Second Ave., P.O. Box 598, Ottumwa, Iowa 52501. (800) 255-6620. Fax: (515) 682-6294.

* Caron Compactor Co. Landfill compactor. Contact: Jim Caron, 809 Sylvan, Ste. 500, Modesto, Calif. 95350-1500. (800) 448-8236. Fax: (209) 578-2833.

* Caterpillar Inc. Earth moving equipment. Contact: Bob Muntz, 100 N.E. Adams St., Peoria, Ill. 61629. (309) 675-6779. Fax: (309) 675-1342.

Excel Recycling & Manufacturing Inc. Manufacturer of plants for concrete and asphalt recycling. Contact: Larry Horwedel, Box 31118 Amarillo, Texas 79120. (800) 858-4002. Fax: (806) 335-3949. Customer Reference: Russ Hawkins, Allied Recycled Aggregates, Box 566, Commerce City, Colo. 80037. (303) 289-3366.

* Jeffrey Portable and stationary C&D systems, wood hogs, hammermills, pallet grinding systems, mechanical feeders, conveyors and mud-hogs. Contact: George Baker, 295 Pinebush Rd., Cambridge, Ontario, Canada N1T 1B2. (519) 621-3560. Fax: (519) 621-0688.

* Jones Manufacturing Co.. Mighty Giant tub grinders. Contact: Don Reis, P.O. Box 38, 1486 12th Rd., Beemer, Neb. 68716. (402) 528-3861.Fax: (402) 528-3239. E-mail: 74642,

* Morbark. Reducing and recycling equipment for wood, organic waste. Contact: Ken Wagner, P.O. Box 1000, Winn, Mich. 48896. (800) 233-6065. Fax: (517) 866-2280.

* Rexworks Inc. Maxigrind and Megagrind recycling grinders and Trashmaster landfill compactors. Contact: Richard Carone, 445 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, Wis. 53207. (414) 747-7200. Fax: (414) 747-7345.