Guide to eliminating construction waste through wood recycling

As much as 90 percent of Canada’s construction waste could be salvaged or recycled at a lower cost than landfill disposal or non-essential burning. While garbage disposal fees across Canada in the metropolitan area are about $85 per metric tonne, currently most urban construction C&D (wood) waste can be dropped off at a recycling facility for fees ranging from $35 to $55 per ton when it is sorted out. And when you recycle, you not only save money, but you also help conserve natural resources by ensuring the wood waste material is reused.

Find out where to recycle your construction wood waste with the Canadian Wood Waste Recycling, Business Group website.

Follow these suggestive steps to maximize construction wood waste recycling:

CWWR research options

  • Investigate your wood recycling and disposal options before the job begins.
  • Work with your hauler or CWWR membership recycler to determine what wood and C&D materials should be separated for recycling.
  • To find out what hauler, CWWR membership recycler serves your job site, ask the Canadian Wood Waste Recycling, Business Group at (780) 963-7117 or use the online website membership resource.

CWWR membership companies: place bins carefully

  • Place wood recycling bins in a location that will prevent misuse or contamination. Even a small amount of garbage in a load of recyclables makes the entire load unacceptable for recycling.

CWWR recycling facilitator: educate subcontractors

  • Clearly identify recycling areas with large signs, wood only etc.
  • Educate subcontractors about what materials will be recycled for the project. Include recycling in their subcontracts.
  • Teach subcontractors to keep lunch bags, caulking tubes and other garbage out of the recycling areas and place into the waste disposal bin.

Coordinate pickup

  • Work with your hauler or recycler to coordinate pickup and delivery.

Easy salvage steps

  1. Consider manual deconstruction instead of mechanical demolition. Determine whether the structure is a good candidate for deconstruction or disassembly by hand. Find a CWWR membership firm to help you evaluate the potential for wood salvage and deconstruction recycling in the salvage through the  there are three-leading core, foundational industry business sectors in the development of the Canadian Wood recycling, Bioeconomy industry.
  2. Remove salvageable wood reusable items as early in the project as possible. Allow time for this at the front end of the project schedule.
  3. Look for salvage opportunities as the project progresses. For example, removing carpet may reveal salvageable hardwood flooring.


A few definitions

  • Manual Deconstruction: The systematic hand or mechanical disassembly of a building structure in reverse order of assembly in order to re-harvest/reuse the building materials and minimize the environmental impacts of demolition.
  • Mixed construction debris: Several types of construction and demolition debris combined in one container. Mixed debris can be taken to a drop-off site for recycling, as long as loads are free of household garbage, food, liquid and hazardous waste.
  • Source separated: Similar materials that are separated from other waste according to categories such as wood, drywall, metal, etc.

Jim Donaldson is CEO of the Canadian Wood Waste Recycling, Business Group.