It is hardly a secret that most of the largest cities of the United States and across the world are almost drowning in all sorts of industrial and construction waste. It is one of the biggest concerns of citizens and governments as it leads to irreversible environmental pollution. One glance at the latest construction waste statistics will showcase how much trouble we are in.
According to the EPA’s own figures, the United States is the world’s largest producer of household waste. This is certainly a cause for great concern.
Several Federal and State-level agencies are working to find solutions before time runs out.
Despite the introduction of green technologies, increased focus on lean construction, and more emphasis on environment-friendly materials, the latest construction industry waste statistics suggest that there’s still a long way to go.
The next section details a few must-know waste in construction industry statistics not to spread fear, but to sensitize people across the US and across the world.
The rise and rise of construction waste
Note that C&D (construction and demolition) waste materials and debris constitute more than 25% of America’s ‘waste stream’; the stream is the total waste generated in the United States annually.
Also, remember that the USA is far behind the United Kingdom when it comes to waste management. The UK has specific statutes which allow the recycling of more than 90% of all C&D debris. There is a lesson to be learned here.
Here’s an overview of the United States’ construction waste statistics for 2022.
1. According to empirical studies conducted by respected non-profit agencies including ‘Transparency Market Research, the total C&D waste generated every year will exceed an astounding 2.2 billion tons by 2025!
2. In 2021, the US’s ‘waste stream’ had more than 23% C&D refuse. This is slightly lower than previous years, but that is probably due to a sharp decline in the country’s construction sector due to the pandemic.
3. A stunning 600+ million tons of construction refuse and debris were generated only in 2018! This is an increase of over 300% since the EPA started maintaining records in 1990.
The EPA has blamed this humongous increase on several factors, and one of them is unsafe and unscientific disposal methods.
As a responsible citizen, it is your duty to contact a construction waste dumpster rental agency near you that will ensure that any C&D waste is properly disposed of.
It might not seem a lot, but if you can encourage your neighbors, friends, and colleagues to do the same, there will be a gradual reduction in construction industry waste statistics!
4. More than 30% of all materials that are delivered to a construction site often end up as waste. This is a dangerous precedent and is something that can be decreased using green engineering technologies.
5. The EPA has warned that the country is slowly but surely running out of landfills. For example, C&D projects contributed a total of 145 million tons of non-recyclable waste which ended up in landfills. This was only in a single year, 2018.
These are enormous volumes that will become almost impossible to control once the construction sector returns to full-fledged activity!
6. One of the worst waste in construction industry statistics is the nature of debris being dumped throughout the country. Asphalt, bricks, concrete, shingles, and a wide variety of drywalls make up more than 75% of construction essentials that are recklessly dumped.
None of these are biodegradable. Any landfill that acts as the final resting place of such materials cannot ever be cleansed.
According to the EPA, this lackadaisical behavior will spell disaster in the short-to-medium term.
What are some possible solutions to the menace?
The Federal Government and all States have laid down several laws which are designed to keep construction waste statistics within acceptable limits. These laws have also been ratified by the WHO.
Here are a few of them.
A. Renewed focus on recycling. It reduces the environmental impact and also generates employment. In 2018, for example, more than 80% of all jobs in the waste management sector were in the recycling division.
The US’s Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also pointed out that while less than 33% of waste materials (including those from C&D) were recycled in the country, the growing number of employment opportunities was a positive step to achieve sustainable development.
B. Few know about this, but Blockchain and several types of BIM (Building Information Modeling) software suites are already being used by governmental agencies and even building/fabrication giants themselves to ensure that construction industry waste statistics remain within ‘safe’ limits.
C. A comprehensive waste management plan is being drawn up across all 50 States. Leading them is California- with its ‘CalRecycle’ program.
We are one of the biggest stakeholders of these plans, for obvious reasons. It is always advisable to keep in touch with local construction dumpster rental services whenever you need them for domestic or official uses.
Together, these futuristic plans might just bring down the volume of waste materials generated annually!