Opportunities To Increase C&D Diversion 

UCS2016-0471, Construction and Demolition Waste Diversion, is the latest document reporting the C&D condition in Calgary and is referenced several times during  the city’s construction activities. Various guidelines from other cities were considered and used as examples to demonstrate the efficacy of certain strategies.

(Re)Construct Calgary is proposing policy recommendations hoping to lead the City of Calgary to revert to their 80 percent waste diversion goal set in 2007. Our next objective will require Calgary to make their waste audit procedures better than before and enforce mandatory regulatory requirements for all general contractors, Registered Transporters and Facilities which they must follow in every project. It is also important that the City of Calgary adopts a robust role in their education and advisory support for organizations in overcoming barriers commonly associated with waste diversion. (Re)Construct Calgary believes that an 80 percent diversion rate by 2025, is feasible if the City of Calgary implements stronger legislation and enforces systematic measures in the C&D recycling program.

City-Led Diversion  

  • C&D Waste Recycling Ordinances and Required Minimums

Thus far, the City  has taken a collaborative approach with the private sector, encouraging them to take the lead in C&D waste diversion. They have implemented certain initiatives to encourage diversion efforts; however, the amount of waste recycled is at the discretion of the of the general contractor. Instead, The City of Calgary must implement a bylaw that requires all projects, public and private, to follow set recycling practices and strive for an 80 percent diversion, or otherwise face financial penalty. 

  • Waste Audit and Waste Reduction Program

Planning waste reduction and diversion before demolition and/or construction is crucial to achieving set priorities and goals. The City of Calgary should require contractors to complete a detailed waste audit and waste reduction plan as part of the building permit process. 

  • Pricing Incentives and Refunded Deposits

The City of Calgary has traditionally supported waste diversion in the C&D sector with economic incentives by annual tipping fee increases. The basic tipping fee and Designated Material rates have had larger increases than C&D Recycling rates to encourage recycling. (Re)Construct Calgary supports this strategy. Another consideration is to ensure that the cost of a waste management service (WMS) to handle and recycle the waste materials will cost less than the tipping fees. By ensuring that there is a financial benefit for C&D waste diversion, it will be an incentive for contractors to pursue recycling strategies.

  • Registered Transporters and Facilities

It is important to have knowledgeable WMS sort and handle mixed debris. WMS will work with the contractors to develop a practical waste reduction plan and transport the waste to registered recycling facilities.

  • Source Seperation

Source separation has the benefit of increasing recycling rates and generating the best prices for materials. An organized source separation program with pre-defined bin pickup and drop-off work orders creates efficiency. Solutions range from using smaller bins, having the right signage, and comparing the projection onsite with the target rate on a regular basis. 

Private Sector Involvement

The City recognizes that C&D waste diversion is a collaborative effort between The City and the private sector. The main strategies present in the places with a high level of recycling are non-legislative instruments. They contribute to create good conditions for the management of C&D recycling. Clear communication with staff, sub-contractors and vendors is critical in making a jobsite recycling program successful.

  • Education and Promotion

Construction Canada wrote a useful piece in 2014 providing some great recommendations.

Logistical plans for waste bins onsite should be clear and requested changes should be easily understood. Some tips to consider include:

  • having a general site plan with bin locations represented as squares—each bin is also shown in a larger image and with an appropriate label for the designated waste material;
  • labelling each bin with signage that matters for a specific container; and
  • having multiple signs (i.e. labels), which helps ensure information is visible to everyone who uses the bin, as well as hauling service.

Driving participatory behaviour: applying carrots and sticks

A proactive approach to helping the project maximize its waste diversion should be implemented. This includes:

  • involving all sub-trades onsite, ensuring workers take ownership of all aspects of the job, including the waste generated—regular communication helps keep everyone engaged with the issue (e.g. sending regular emails informing of the overall diversion rate);
  • tracking per building monthly waste with results shared so there is a friendly competition between the workers of each building; and
  • having specific stipulations regarding helping the Pan Am project meet its LEED and Tier 2 site goal of 75 per cent diversion in all sub-trade contracts.

A dynamic system for a complex project

As onsite activities change based on the construction phase, the bin allocation and collection is modified to adjust for volume or accommodate a new waste stream. The following are tips on keeping tracking systems in place:

  • adjust logistical plans every time a bin is moved or added;
  • provide each worker and material hoist with at least two bins kept specific to the activity, taking place at a specified time frame; and
  • locate the central bin area onsite where overflow can be dumped into larger material designated containers.