Making C&D Diversion Work

It’s nearly impossible to believe that for years, General Contractors had only one solution for their debris--the landfill. Today, environmental responsibility is essential for success in the construction industry. Waste Management Sustainability Services specializes in the creation and implementation of diversion programs that support General Contractors (GCs) in setting, understanding, and attaining Construction and Demolition (C&D) diversion goals. In order to balance the environmental and economic demands of a project, a comprehensive solution that includes planning, communication, tracking, and follow up is imperative.

Here are four main factors essential for making C&D diversion work:

1. Construction Waste Management Plan

Creating a Construction Waste Management Plan (CWM) is the first important step in a successful diversion program. This plan will include an outline of the diversion goal, as well as waste prevention plan; it will address communication, education and training; it will identify recyclable materials, and establish non-recyclable handling protocol; and finally it will determine eventual reuse of renewable raw materials.

2. Pre-Construction Meeting

Once the CWM Plan is established, the next critical step is the Pre-Construction Meeting. This meeting lays the foundation for the GC and sub-contractor feedback and buy-in. All parties involved will be able to gauge the support from each of the groups, and agree upon the logistics of how to accomplish the diversion goal. Solutions may include using a co-mingle dumpster, or site separated dumpster to collect C&D recyclable and non-recyclable material.

3. Monthly Tracking

The CWM Plan and logistics require consistent progress tracking to distinguish strengths and weaknesses in the diversion program. The data can also help identify off-site contamination that could delay progress, or even detect commodity pilfering. Waste Management’s internet-based Diversion and Recycling Tracking Tool (DART), allows GCs to benchmark progress and to create customizable reports, allowing quicker data review and project diversion submittal.

4. Follow-up meetings

Follow-up meetings keep the diversion program on track. Waste Management assigns a single point of contact construction representative to provide guidance and resources for GCs through all phases of construction. This expert support person will supply up-to-date knowledge of local disposal regulations and requirements; help keep the project on time and on budget; as well as offer expertise in the Materials and Resources section of LEED® New Construction.

Incorporating the four steps outlined above for C&D projects will not only increase diversion success, it will also ensure the company gets the most out of the construction and demolition materials.

To learn more about how to minimize waste and maximize efficiencies through every phase of construction, contact Waste Management Sustainability Services at 877-441-3046 or visit

About the Author

Waste Management

Waste Management, Inc. is North America's leading provider of integrated environmental solutions. We partner with our customers and communities to manage and reduce waste from collection to disposal while recovering valuable resources and creating clean, renewable energy.

Our 45,000 employees are committed to Environmental Performance — our mission to maximize resource value, while minimizing environmental impact so that both our economy and our environment can thrive. Serving over 20 million residential, industrial, municipal and commercial customers, Waste Management posted $12.52 billion of revenues in 2010.

Drawing on our resources and experience, we actively pursue projects and initiatives that benefit the waste industry, the communities we serve and the environment.

• Waste Management uses waste to create enough energy to power more than 1 million homes every year. By 2020, we expect to double that output, creating enough energy to power more than 2 million homes.

• As North America’s largest recycler, Waste Management managed more than 7 million tons of recyclable commodities in 2009. By the year 2020, we expect to increase the amount of material we manage to more than 20 million tons per year.

• By the end of 2009, Waste Management had 119 landfill-gas-to-energy projects producing 540 megawatts of power, the equivalent of powering approximately 400,000 homes.

• At the end of 2009, we had more than 800 natural gas-powered trucks in our fleet, with plans to add 200 more in 2010. During the year, we also used technology to reduce the fuel burn of every truck in our fleet. When fully implemented, this is expected to save 9 million gallons of fuel per year.

• Our wholly owned subsidiary Wheelabrator Technologies owns or operates 16 waste-to-energy plants and five independent power production facilities in the U.S. that generate enough energy to power more than 900,000 homes.

• Through a joint venture with the Linde Group, we have built a plant that converts landfill gas into liquefied natural gas for use as fuel in our trucks. The facility is currently producing 13,000 gallons per day.

• At the end of 2009, we had a total of 73 WHC-certified sites. We also set a goal to have 25,000 acres dedicated solely to nature preservation by 2020, and we have nearly reached that goal: at year-end, we had 24,000 protected acres.

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