Designing Waste Out of the System
The construction industry is the world’s largest consumer of resources and raw materials and is estimated to emit half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 40% of raw materials consumed in North America are construction materials (CCME 2019, p. 1). Yet the building industry has largely ignored end-of-life and waste generation when it comes to planning and design.
Not surprisingly, one of Canada’s most significant solid waste streams is construction, renovation and demolition (CRD) waste. The most common CRD waste materials in Canada are wood, asphalt, drywall and concrete. In addition to posing significant human and environmental health risks, managing CRD waste is expensive and highly inefficient, especially given that many landfilled CRD materials still hold value (CCME 2019, p. ii). As the crisis of construction waste emerges as a concern across the globe, it is essential to consider the entire life cycle of assets within the built environment.