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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : Mar/Apr 2003 : Special Section

Special Section

Managing Waste

The federal government has joined forces with local non-profits and businesses to create infrastructure for cost- and time-effective solutions to Construction Waste Management (CWM) and material redistribution in the nation’s capitol. This newly formed task force includes members from GSA, EPA, Virginia Housing and the Environment Network, Sustainable Community Initiatives, The Tower Companies and Natural Logic, Inc. The team has plans to involve local governments, architectural firms, construction companies and demolition contractors in the project.

With the goal of drastic reduction in the volume of construction materials being sent to landfills and incinerators, the team is reviewing and evaluating successful CWM and material solutions from projects receiving GSA’s Demolition Derby Awards and local participants of the LEED Green Building Rating System. GSA intends to promote the goals of the local CWM and materials redistribution effort while encouraging the use of its new on-line National Construction Waste Management Database ( created in partnership with the National Institute of Standards Technology.

To facilitate cost- and time-effective implementation of CWM plans, the team is developing CWM specifications, which will be made available for use by public and private sector design and construction teams. A Web-based Materials Exchange is being developed to serve Washington metropolitan area, enabling large volumes of reusable materials to be redistributed directly from deconstruction projects to new users and eliminating the need for costly storage. Community Forklift, a materials reuse warehouse, will accommodate smaller quantities of salvaged or surplus building material.

It is hoped that this collaborative effort, by bringing the public and private sectors together, will serve the needs of the entire Washington, DC metropolitan area and will become a model to be replicated in other regions nationwide. The program’s benefits will include: reduced landfill and incineration demands on local governments; increased profits for construction and demolition contractors; increased availability of reusable material; and the ability for architectural teams seeking LEED to more easily earn Materials & Resource Credit 2: Construction Waste Management and Credit 3: Resource Reuse.

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