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Facilities Management recently began using a construction waste diversion plan that calls for at least 75 percent of campus demolition waste to be recycled. In two recent demolition projects, contractors were able to divert an average of 89 percent of waste.

“Much of the waste resulting from demolition projects is able to be diverted and eventually recycled,” said Scott Fuller, executive director of design and construction. “One area where we are working to be more environmentally responsible is in diverting demolition waste from landfills. This has been made possible in large part due to collaboration with our contractors.”

Waste streams are divided into three categories: concrete and masonry, metals and construction and demolition debris, which are non-recyclable. While considered a waste, hazardous materials are not included in these diversion numbers. Instead, they are taken to a certified and approved disposal location.

“This is a great initiative that transforms what would otherwise be waste into a resource,” said Mike Kensler, director of the Office of Sustainability. “It’s a win-win no matter how you look at it. At the same time we are reducing the volume and costs associated with waste material going to a landfill, we are also creating a resource stream that is being put to productive use, creating jobs and economic activity that support the local economy. It is an excellent example of how sustainability practices can be beneficial economically and environmentally.”

The Food Service Building demolition was the first project to include a contractual diversion goal, which was exceeded by diverting 86 percent of recyclables. In total, 1,916 tons of waste was collected and 1,600 tons of brick and concrete was taken to a facility in Opelika to be crushed. More than 53 tons of metal was scrapped and melted for reuse.

While the Caroline Draughon Village, or CDV, demolition did not have a contractual diversion goal, contractors were able to exceed Auburn’s 75 percent diversion goal by diverting 92 percent of the materials. More than 15,000 tons of concrete from the project were crushed and mixed with dirt and brick to create an inert material, and 180 tons of metal were recovered from the site to be recycled.

“We have recently had success in achieving diversion rates even higher than those established in the plan, by diverting 86 percent of waste from the Food Service Building demolition and 92 percent from the CDV demolition,” said Fuller. “We expect to become even better at waste diversion the more we pursue these efforts.”

Auburn’s waste diversion plan will continue with future projects including the engineering shops and L building, which are currently being demolished.

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