Tag Archives: United States

weConstruction site cleanup is an essential aspect of all construction-related work when you consider the large quantities of waste materials that are generated. Whether it is new structures that are being built or old structures being demolished, there is a lot of debris which has to be disposed of in a careful manner. Construction site cleanup should be done in a way that is eco-friendly, safe, and cost-effective.

Even though a large portion of the materials that are leftovers from a construction site are recyclable, they are still sent to landfills, which is a huge waste of valuable resource and materials. The best way to tackle this is to make sure that the recyclable materials are segregated from the non-recyclable materials during a construction site cleanup.

There is any number of toxic waste materials that could be left behind in construction waste, so this must first be assessed. When old buildings are demolished, there is likely to be a large amount of toxic waste from paints that contain lead and biocides containing mercury. There could also be fluorescent lamps containing mercury, leaded pipes, PCP ballasts, asbestos insulation, etc. In the construction of new buildings, the waste generated could be roofing tars, glue, solvent waste, paints and treated woods. These wastes should be segregated as toxic and non-toxic, and then as reusable and non-reusable. A door that has paint that is lead-based could be reused, but if it were to be discarded, it would have to be classified as dangerous waste.

When a building that is being demolished has structures that are of architectural or ornamental value, it is taken down and preserved carefully for sale or reuse. Doors and windows are regularly reused. Other materials that can be reused are carpets which can be recycled, gypsum board which can be used as an amendment for soil, and shingles which can be used for patching up roads. Cement blocks and bricks are also reused after mixing them with asphalt and concrete. This is then used to form the foundation for driveways and road beds. Wood lumber that is untreated and unpainted can be used as dimensional lumber or used in composting and landscaping after being chipped. It can also be used for trail surfaces, soil amendment, and to prevent soil erosion.

Here is a short list of substances that can be recycled from construction site debris:

  • PVC pipes
  • Vinyl siding
  • Carpet
  • Carpet pads
  • Aluminum siding
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Concrete
  • Brick or masonry
  • Antiques or ornamental stonework
  • Wood debris
  • Gypsum
  • Steel
  • Gas pipes
  • Metal pipes
  • Plumbing fixtures that are porcelain

Each state in the United States would have its own rules on how construction site cleanup debris should be segregated, categorized, and recycled. It is always better to have an evaluation of recyclable materials done before the building is demolished than after the demolition is over. This can help to remove specific toxic waste prior to demolishing the whole structure.

addAccording to the National Association of Home Builders, in 2009 the size of the average American home was two thousand seven hundred square feet. That means for a family of four there would be, on average, six hundred seventy-five square feet of living space per person. Based on these numbers, a single person living in just five hundred square feet (the size of several micro homes) sounds perfectly reasonable, in fact, it sounds like what many people are already accustomed to. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the part about not being able to have a swimming pool, back yard, barbecue, tree house, tool shed, garage or anything else you would have outside of your home. Since most micro housing is being located in densely populated areas, the people that would live in them have already decided they don't need any of these things, or have found an acceptable alternative.

However, if you look at the bigger picture it sounds like we are choosing to be packed like sardines into a can. If you take into consideration that there are nearly three million square miles of land in the contiguous United States, and let's say half of it is either BLM, watershed or national park (that's a heavy estimate). This leaves us with one hundred and fifty million square miles of good old-fashioned Tera-firma. The current population of the United States is a little over three million people. Simple math will lead us to the conclusion that there is enough physical land to put only two people on each square mile.

That's thirteen million nine hundred thirty-nine thousand two hundred square feet each. With all of this land, why would someone intentionally choose to live in a space no more than five hundred square feet? Just so you can get an idea of the size, the five hundred square feet taken out of the center of a half square mile would be smaller (proportionately) than putting a postage stamp in the center of a football field.

If you put an acorn in a small pot it will still grow just as if you planted it in the forest, with one difference. Like a Bonsai, it will look just like its wild cousin, but it will never reach the height and depth that nature intended it to. It will be forever stunted in its tiny pot, being able to grow only as far as its environment allows let it. Will living in a micro-home have the same effect on the American spirit, stunting it to the point that we will stop reaching further and higher to better it?

The psychological aspects to living in such a small space could easily be found, just go to your local prison. A modern cell is just one hundred square feet and houses two inmates. In contrast, an NCO on a modern army base gets to share two hundred square feet with a bunkmate. Would people choose to live in these micro homes as the result of some deep seeded throwback to our caveman ancestors? Do they feel safer in a confined space from the sabre tooth tiger that's lurking around outside?

In NYC, approximately sixty thousand people applied to live in just eleven available units that are under construction on East 27th St. in Kips Bay, Manhattan. In the movie The Fifth Element, (released in 1997), the 23rd century New York City apartment that Bruce Willis' character occupied couldn't have been more than three hundred square feet. It had a bed that retracted into the wall, a shower that stacked on top of a full sized refrigerator and plenty of shelf space. Is that the direction we are heading, hundred story buildings packed to the gills with people?

The answer lies in a simple place, where the money is. If there is a profit to be made there will be funds available to grow the industry from eager investors looking for a percentage. Weather it takes off or not, only time will tell.