According to CalRecycle’s 2014 Disposal Facility-Based Characterization of Solid Waste in California, construction and demolition (C&D) materials are estimated to account for between 21.7 to 25.5 percent of California’s waste disposal.
A detailed breakdown of C&D waste can be found in CalRecycle’s 2006 C&D characterization study.
Waste generated in construction or demolition activities also includes large quantities of material found in the general waste stream. For example, the C&D waste stream also includes corrugated cardboard (OCC) from packaging, a variety of plastics (PVC pipe, packaging, etc.), glass, and yard wastes from site work and clearing. Existing municipal recycling programs may be suitable for recovering these common materials. However some of the other materials may need special handling, either as solid or as hazardous waste.
Common C&D Materials
Some materials are generally unique to the C&D waste stream. The following list includes a sample of those.
For more information on various materials and case studies about specific projects visit the C&D program’s publications page.
Universal and Hazardous Wastes in Construction and Demolition
Some wastes found in construction and demolition projects may need to be handled differently than the others. Universal wastes are common hazardous wastes that are generated by a variety of people and businesses, and are generally not allowed to be disposed of in solid waste landfills. They include fluorescent tubes and lamps, mercury containing items such as switches and thermostats, batteries, and some electronic equipment.
The State Contractor’s Licensing Board has developed A Consumer Guide to Asbestos (PDF download).
See DTSC’s list of Public and Business Liaisons (PDF download) to find out who to contact in your area for hazardous waste management information.
Recycling opportunities in some areas of the state may be limited and disposal may be the only option. Some materials, like non-hazardous asbestos, are generally not accepted at landfills throughout the State. In order to determine if specific materials are accepted at disposal facilities, the State Water Resources Control Board provides information on the permitted waste types at permitted landfills. Please check with the facility before taking any material.
Contact information about permitted disposal facilities can be found searching CalRecycle’s SWIS database.