Green Building Library
Waste Reduction and Recycling

Construction Waste: Types and Quantities Management

Use the following ballpark figures to get a sense of how much construction waste may be generated on your jobs:

Material

Lbs./Sq.Ft.

Wood

1.3 - 2.11

Drywall

1.0 - 1.2

Cardboard

0.1 - 0.5 2

Metals

0.02 - 0.13

Other (plastics, shingles, etc)

0.5 - 1.3

Total

3.0 - 5.2

1Range for wood waste depends on material used for wall sheathing, siding, tirm, and roofing.

2 Range for cardboard depends on type of siding and whether windows, doors, and cabinetry are locally manufactured.

Key Points

Here are some important generalizations about residential construction waste.

  • By weight or volume, wood, drywall and cardboard make up between 60 and 80 percent of jobsite waste.
  • Vinyl and metals are generated in small quantities, but have good recycling value.
  • Cardboard waste is increasing on most jobsites as more components, such as windews, appliances, cabinets and siding, are shipped to builders over long distances.
  • Most wood waste is "clean" -- unpainted, untreated and recyclable. This usually includes dimensional lumber, plywood, OSB and particle board without laminates.
  • Brick, block and asphalt shingle waste are insignificant in volume, but can be important in terms of weight.
  • For most builders, the largest share of waste that could be considered hazardous is generated from painting, sealing, staining and caulking.
  • Drive-by contamination (waste placed in a container by a party other than the builder or subcontractor) can be as much as 30 percent of the total volume hauled from a site.

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