Keep Waste Reduction In Mind When Renovating
Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario
Owning a residence is among the single largest financial commitments we make. Renovations, while exciting, are also stressful because of time and cost. However, we can make things easier if we actively consider waste reduction and minimization throughout design and construction.
Construction and demolition (C&D) material is among the three largest waste streams in Ontario. Estimates on the amount of C&D material generated annually in Ontario is 14 million tonnes, and approximately 88 per cent of that is lost to disposal.
A solution? Waste reduction — material and money — can start at the design phase. Waste is rarely a consideration during design or when engaging a contractor. It simply ends up as a budget line item that isn’t questioned. By giving careful consideration to waste reduction we can mitigate overall costs. Designers and contractors will respond to environmental considerations, and source manufacturers and suppliers that actively feature sustainability as part of service offerings and their identity.
Another benefit to this approach is its overall contribution to the growing circular economy, a popular global concept that is gaining significant traction in Ontario.
The circular economy emphasizes that products and materials be designed to be long-lasting: simple to repair, reuse, and disassemble to extend lifecycles.
Circular economy practices can also be integrated into construction, renovation, and demolition activities: renting tools instead of purchasing them; salvaging materials and repurposing them on-site or into other projects; or ensuring used carpet is recycled instead of disposed. These considerations drive costs down, reduce the need for new, and provide feedstock materials for recycling.
Renovation projects are exciting undertakings that give new life to old spaces. Include waste reduction as a key component of design and construction and we will significantly decrease the amount of material lost to disposal.
For more information, visit www.rco.on.ca