Demolition Companies Help Grow U.S. Recycling Economy

A high-reach excavator with a claw attachment removes concrete and other recyclable materials from an industrial demolition site.The demolition industry has experienced significant growth in recent years. The sector has seen a 3.7% annual expansion over the past half-decade. How big is the demolition industry today? It enjoyed $7.5 billion in revenue in 2022, making it the 36th largest construction industry in the country.

Two demolition trends have helped this upward trajectory: deconstruction and recycling. Both have their benefits, such as environmental friendliness and decreased materials costs for future projects. These trends have changed the expectations that property owners and developers have for demolition contractors. 

Today’s demo experts must offer a wealth of services, including industrial and commercial demolition, steel processing, and more. They must also have the knowledge and equipment to safely take down structures, recover the recyclable assets they contain, and process these items for reuse or recycling.

Demolition Industry & Recycling Statistics You Should Know

Structures contain concrete, steel and other metals, appliances, and other assets that can be recycled in their current form or after processing.

What benefits come from recycling instead of shipping this waste to a landfill? Here are a few demolition industry statistics illustrating some of the advantages.

  • Environmental benefits. According to a report by the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), converting 75% of municipal waste from landfills can reduce carbon emissions by 515 million metric tons. That is the equivalent of taking 50 million cars off the road.
  • Employment. This report also states that the 75% diversion rate will add 2.3 million jobs to the economy by 2030, as workers are needed to handle every aspect of the recycling and redistribution process.
  • Reduced materials costs. Since the materials can be reused after processing, a construction company can reduce costs. For example, concrete crushing creates gravel that contractors can utilize in many ways, from road bases and leveling to a filling agent for new cement. Additionally, some scrap metals do not lose strength or integrity even after multiple recycling cycles. Steel is a prime example.
Converting 75% of municipal waste from landfills can reduce carbon emissions by 515 million metric tons, which is the equivalent of taking 50 million cars off the road.

Deconstruction is a process of taking down structures in a way that preserves recyclable assets. This step-by-step process relies on crews selectively dismantling as many reusable parts as possible. 

The benefits of deconstruction include:

  • Preserving recyclable assets. Deconstruction makes it possible to preserve more of the value of materials meant for recycling. This also helps retain their value during asset recovery.
  • Keeping harmful materials out of the environment. Traditional demolition can release more dust or chemicals into the air or ground where they can enter the water table. 

Now let’s take a look at how Portland, Oregon became a leader in both recycling and deconstruction.

Portland Pushes Commercial Recycling Forward

As reported by, Portland’s recycling efforts date back to 1983 when the city mandated that each community launch a recycling program.

Portland's recycling efforts date back to 1983 when the city mandated that each community launch a recycling program.

By the 1990s, the city started acting on commercial waste. The requirement was that 50% of commercial waste be recycled.

In 2009, Portland launched the Enhanced Dry Waste Recovery Program (EDWRP). This program required that all commercial demolition materials be processed at a recovery facility, where trained workers remove recyclable items for processing or reuse.

In 2016, the city passed an ordinance that deconstruction methods be used on specific structures instead of traditional mechanical demolition.

Even now, Portland continues to expand recycling systems and drive new policies forward.

Portland Demolition Contractors Offer Asset Recovery & More 

The benefits of recycling and deconstruction, coupled with the city’s requirements, make it imperative to find a Portland demolition company that has the knowledge, skills, and equipment to handle any project.

As a local demolition contractor, our team understands the deconstruction process for commercial, industrial, and multi-unit buildings. We offer a variety of asset recovery services, like steel processing, concrete crushing and recycling, and scrap metal demolition. These services save our clients money by turning untapped resources into positive capital.

If you have a commercial or industrial demolition project in the Portland area and want to work with a proven asset recovery and recycling expert, contact Elder Demolition today.

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