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New Tools in Construction Recycling

Posted on July 3, 2011 in Blog
Demonstration of a hand-held scanner which reads carpet content and determines recyclability.

Demonstration of a hand-held scanner which reads carpet content and determines recyclability.

When KBS was just entering into LEED and the green building market, I was assigned to the CarMax Corporate Headquarters project to help with the documentation necessary for LEED certification. At that time, the Richmond marketplace was unaccustomed to the demands placed upon it for LEED-friendly waste disposal. The method we ended up using on the project was having individual dumpsters labeled with signs for concrete, wood, metal, etc., tracking endless amounts of dumpster tickets, lots of photos, and trusting that everyone was putting the trash in the appropriate receptacles. I spent many hours tracking all of the waste using tickets and spreadsheets and wishing for the day when it would be just a bit easier to document waste management.

Enter Ace Recycling. I had the opportunity to tour their facility recently to see how much the processes have changed in the last few years and was impressed to see what they had to offer. Located in Chester, Ace has an impressive facility that is able to recycle more than 75% of the waste that they receive.

KBS staff learns about construction recycling tools.

KBS staff learns about construction recycling tools.

The days of separate dumpsters are in the past. Ace can provide dumpsters, trailers, and you can even take your own loads of waste to Ace — and even if they are commingled they are able to separate the different types of waste into appropriate groups for recycling. Ace has the capability to recycle all sorts of materials that we couldn’t recycle on the CarMax project, including drywall and plastics. Ace can also provide recycling for demolition materials such as furniture, tile, carpet and brick.

One of the things that I found most interesting is that Ace Recycling also sells some of the recycled materials to customers, right down to used plastic buckets. Crushed stone, fill dirt and wood chips are just a few of the many products that Ace has for purchase.

Customers receive a detailed monthly recycling report from Ace listing all materials recycled along with the diversion percentages, net tons recycled, ticket numbers, etc. This is not only a huge time-saver compared with how recycling used to be tracked for LEED projects, but also a good way to track what sort of impact the waste is having on the environment on any construction project.

Ace Recycling's facility features recycled construction materials.

Ace Recycling’s facility features recycled construction materials.

Not only does Ace Recycling do a great job in waste management, they also support the entire idea of “green” by their actual facility itself. Their 70,000-square-foot facility was a former tobacco processing plant. Just walking into their building, you see reused materials all around you — the reception desk, the furniture, the carpet, and bathroom partitions to name a few things. Rain collected from their rooftop is used for dust control in the plant area. Daylighting is used to reduce the need for traditional lights. Even the parking lot contains aggregate that Ace Recycling produced.

Ace Recycling offers facility tours for large and small groups — and if you want to see them in action, Baskervill and Ace Recycling are joining forces to kick off Earth Month 2011 with a residential construction debris collection day on April 1 — dropoffs can be made between the hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. that day in the alley behind Canal Crossing. Anyone interested can contact Baskervill at 804-343-1010 for more details.

Many thanks to Ace Recycling for providing KBS employees the opportunity to tour their facility as part of the ongoing KBS Institute learning series.

Contributed by: Liz Blanks, LEED AP, LEED Coordinator