Waste stream which arises from activities such as the construction of buildings and civil infrastructure, total or partial demolition of buildings and civil infrastructure, road planning and maintenance
Construction waste or debris is any kind of debris from the construction process. Different government agencies have clear definitions. For example, the United States Environmental Protection Agency EPA defines construction and demolition materials as “debris generated during the construction, renovation and demolition of buildings, roads, and bridges.” Construction and demolition materials are created during the process of creating a new building or structure or when renovating or demolishing an existing structure. These materials are usually heavy materials used in large volumes in modern construction, such as concrete, steel, wood, asphalt and gypsum. Of total waste in the United States, 90% comes from the demolition of structures, while waste generated during construction accounts for less than 10%. Construction waste frequently includes small amount of hazardous materials that require they be disposed of differently than most construction waste, such as fluorescent lights, batteries, and other electrical equipment. When these waste products are created, they are dealt with by exporting to a landfill, recycling materials for new use, waste incineration, or direct reuse on site, through integration into construction or as fill dirt. In dealing with construction and demolition waste products, it is often hard to recycling and repurposing because of cost of processing. Businesses recycling materials must compete with often the low cost of landfills and new construction commodities. In a report including data from 24 participating states in the United States, the percentage of total solid waste in the US that was caused by construction and demolition (C&D) waste materials was 23%. This is almost a quarter of the total solid waste produced by the United States, and it does not include the water polluted during construction and during the time a lot of this waste spends in a landfill leaching toxic chemicals into the surrounding environment.