Sustainable recycling approach: An understanding of designers' and contractors' recycling responsibilities throughout the life cycle of buildings in two US cities

Issam Srour, Wai Kiong Chong, Fan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the surge of interest in construction sustainability, the rate of construction recycling is still trailing behind that of other industries. Extensive recycling, for instance, is limited to a few types of construction material. This paper analyzes recycling situations across the United States (US) and identifies common obstacles to recycling in the context of the US construction industry. Through a set of interviews with industry practitioners, obstacles are classified into six factors: social, environmental, economic, material, participant and regional. The obstacles are then tested on a recently demolished building in the San Antonio, TX, area, and compared with a hypothetical scenario in San Diego, CA. The study found that designers, and contractors (to a lesser extent), play a crucial role in achieving higher recycling rates. Specific practices that designers can use include collecting information on materials lifetime and recyclability in the region, reducing the number of materials used and component sizes, using two-stage building systems and recording changes during construction and operation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-360
Number of pages11
JournalSustainable Development
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Design
  • Materials
  • Obstacles to recycling
  • Recycling
  • Sustainable construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Development

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