How to set up a Recycling Friendly Demolition Program

Article co-authored by Andrew McDonald, Perth Demolition Company


Recycling Friendly Demolition

To protect the environment for ourselves and future generations, green recycling is seen to be the solution for reducing unacceptable levels of landfill and its associated problems of toxic substances leaching into soil, higher levels of greenhouse gases and rising pollution in our waterways.


With the increasing trend in redevelopment to demolish old houses to make way for backyard sub-divisions and smaller lot housing in inner city suburbs, the effects on our environment of such change needs to be considered.

A Perth based demolition company is leading the way with an environmentally friendly recycling program that sees 90% of waste and rubble derived from residential and commercial demolition sites being recycled, rather than becoming landfill.  Good for you and good for the environment.


The Perth Demolition Company has been operating in Perth for more than 20 years and has established a green recycling program in collaboration with local salvage yards that sees a lot of old and sometimes historic building materials recovered and recycled for reuse.


So how do you set up your own recycling friendly demolition program?


Modelling the success of others is often a good starting point and by studying how effective the Perth Demolition Company’s recycling program has been, we can pass on lessons to future generations and industry.


There are three simple strategies that make up their green recycling program:


  1. Handpick and salvage

  2. Mulch

  3. Crush for road base

Let’s look at these in more detail.


Handpick and salvage


A recycling team come in at the start of a demolition job and remove any roof tiles, timber, windows and doors in good condition and pass them on to local salvage yards.


As the demolition job progresses workers sift through the demolition rubble and remove any bricks in good condition.  These are delivered to the salvage yard in a bulk lot by a semi-tipper truck ready for cleaning or they are stacked on pallets and transported by sub-contractors of the salvage yard for hand cleaning, to remove any old mortar and cement.


The finished product is then stacked back on pallets ready for sale in the salvage yard.  Historic products like red recycled bricks are in big demand for building garden walls and for use as trendy paving bricks.  Older style roof tiles which have generally stopped in production are in high demand to replace broken roof tiles on older homes.  Internal bricks, windows, doors and recovered timber floorboards are a renovator’s delight in a salvage yard.

How mulching is used to recycle demolition materials


If timber on a demolition site is not in good condition it is converted and used for mulch.  Wood chip mulch is used under trees, shrubs or larger planting areas to conserve soil moisture, control soil temperature and suppress weed growth.  The density of wood chip mulch means that it generally lasts longer than organic mulch that tends to decompose more quickly through reaction with the environment, particularly moisture from rain and dew.


Wood chip mulch is visually appealing and provides an attractive alternative for the landscape architect or home gardener.


Turning demolition rubble into road base


The final step in the recycling process adopted by the Perth Demolition Company is turning any leftover rubble such as broken bricks and concrete into road base.  The demolition rubble is loaded onto semi-tipper trucks and transported to a tipping site approved to create civil construction materials, where the rubble is crushed and processed into road base.


The road base end product is used as a gravel layer and asphalt is poured over it to make roads.  This has the added benefit of keeping construction costs down and helps the environment by reducing landfill.  So you can see how valuable recycling can be to society and in preserving our environment.


Recycling as a community effort


Setting up a green recycling program as a demolition company takes a joint community effort, in that collaboration needs to be sought with like-minded salvage yards who promote recycled products and sub-contracting firms who specialise in procuring recycled bricks, tiles and pavers.


It becomes a community effort when the end products of these salvage and recycling efforts are sold back into the community.  And this means educating the community in buying second hand recycled building materials in preference to new.  Good for the environment and good for you.

Author Biography/Resources:

This article was co-authored with Andrew McDonald who has 32 years’ experience in residential and commercial demolition in Perth, Western Australia and is the Director of the Perth Demolition Company.  Andrew has experience in all aspects of demolition including house demolitions, office strip-outs, commercial strip-outs and structural demolition, backyard cleanouts for sub-division purposes, excavation, asbestos removal, salvage and setting up green recycling programs.