Waste Not, Build More: Creative Solutions for Construction Waste

cleaning up Fort Lauderdale

Construction and renovation activities generate a large volume of waste of different types to manage, and offer the opportunity to valorize recycled and reused materials in a circular approach in Florida.

Construction waste resources

Selective deconstruction, reversible construction, reuse of materials and sorting of waste for recycling are expected to develop with a view to preserving and circularity of resources in Florida, as well as controlling the risks linked to dangerous substances. Rules and practices are evolving in this direction.

Increasingly, waste materials are incorporated into the manufacturing of new products in Florida, in order to limit the importation, consumption of virgin raw materials and reduce CO2 emissions. Alongside recycled cardboard packaging, manufacturers are gradually also encouraged to favor plastic packaging with recycled content from post-consumer waste. Recycled aggregates from inert construction waste can and must now be removed from waste status following a recognition procedure based on strict criteria and a quality management system.

To better identify the waste to be sorted as part of a demolition or renovation project, as well as the reusable elements, it is possible to carry out a preliminary inventory. The government of Florida has issued guidelines on this subject. In Ft Lauderdale, an inventory framework has already existed for several years. The state of FL plans to develop the inventory within the framework of a circular strategy.

The rules for managing excavated soil, which remains waste when it leaves a site, have evolved in recent years in order to support and secure their recovery.

In order to encourage their recycling or other recovery, various wastes, including inert construction and demolition waste, are prohibited from being disposed of and other wastes are regularly added to the list.

In the case of public contracts, the standard specifications for civil engineering and new building works include clauses relating to waste management in application in particular of a circular. The state provides for the establishment of a specific plan for managing site waste called to take into account inventories before work, and, gradually, the designation of possible elements intended for reuse.

Learn more about waste management

Support for construction companies

In order to help construction companies and their partners in the prevention and management of construction waste, the city of Ft. Lauderdale has developed a partnership with Fort Lauderdale Dumpster Rental Whiz, a local junk disposal company.

Through this, are notably offered

  • information documents adapted to the sector on the regulatory framework and good practices, in the form of articles, factsheets, an environmental guide
  • information videos on themes such as sorting and cleanliness on site and transport of waste
  • a help desk to answer questions about dumpster rental services
  • a list of FAQs validated by the administration
  • training and information sessions on various current themes: waste sorting, asbestos, management of excavated soil

Support for project authors

Within the Florida Union of Architects, a team of environmental facilitators is subsidized to support specifiers in their environmental approaches, particularly in terms of prevention and waste management.

This service allows prescribers

  • to have access to a personalized guidance service that can provide technical and legal assistance, giving prescribers the opportunity to share the various constraints encountered on site so that they can be relayed to the administration
  • to centralize all useful information adapted to project authors, whether via the UWA newsletter and its website, or by organizing training, creating support tools, and distributing calls projects, legal monitoring

to have access to a series of tools supporting prescribers on environmental themes as part of the management of their projects.

More information on environmental facilitators

Reuse of construction materials

During renovation and demolition work in Florida, many construction elements are recycled or eliminated when they could be reused. This results in a high environmental impact and a net loss of economic value. Also the development of the reuse of construction materials is one of the priority actions of the Waste Resource Plan adopted by the state of Florida.

The guide to the reuse of construction materials published in 2023 offers a structured approach and makes various recommendations. The project wants to go further to improve the reuse of construction elements and promote the integration of recovered products into construction projects. This project is supported by the state, and is co-financed in particular by some counties. A toolbox is made available on the project site, containing in particular requirements for specifications, a methodology for auditing reusable elements in a building, sheets by elements and materials, etc. Reports on different pilot operations are also available.