Austin, Texas, Institutes Mandatory Building Recycling
Austin, Texas, has recently joined other communities with mandatory recycling programs for construction. Any construction project that is larger than 5,000 sq. ft. must now recycle at least half of the scrap generated. This will be expanded to demolition sites in 2019.
Austin joins others, like Massachusetts and California, who have statewide mandatory building material recycling. While Austin predicts an increase in construction costs to the tune of 0.1 to 0.2 percent, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (or MassDEP as it has been termed) has done a number of construction and demolition case studies that actually document cost-savings associated with recycling (these recycling case studies can be found on MassDEP’s website). Additionally, the state lists no less than five agencies that will accept recycled materials for donation or even sale.
This initiative by Austin is part of a larger goal to reduce its waste going to landfills by 95 percent by 2040. While that is certainly a Herculean task, a study to be performed in 2020 will let the city know how far along in it’s goal it actually is.
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