How the C&D Industry’s Recycling Methods Have Evolved

A variety of scrap metal ready to be recycled.The construction and demolition (C&D) industry’s recycling methods have changed dramatically over the past few decades. Manual sorting and separation were standard in the industry until new technologies allowed for increased automation.

The best and most forward-thinking demolition companies have adjusted to changing market demands and adapted these new recycling methods.

New Scrap Metal Recycling Solutions Allow for Commingled Recycling

Before new sorting technologies became available, most construction and demolition waste was simply sent to landfills. This meant that any asset recovery required manual sorting at the demolition site before going to a recycling center. 

In today’s article we’ll explore some of the highlights of how developments in automated sorting and separation have positively impacted demolition contractors. 

Sorting Systems Minimize Waste

Steel has the highest recycling rate of any material in the demolition and construction industry.

Sorting scrap is a labor intensive step in the recycling process. The recovery of valuable materials, such as steel, is a lucrative source of income for construction and demolition companies. In fact, steel has the highest recycling rate of any material, as it’s able to be reused in myriad products.

Low Speed Shredders. One of the biggest challenges in C&D recycling is the question of how to automate the sorting process. Some new developments in equipment, like the low speed shredder, help accomplish recycling tasks while using less energy. 

Process Feeder Conveyors. Some C&D recycling companies have started using process feeder conveyors. These feeders help regulate the waste stream, allowing for more uniform flow. They also feature a low feed height that enables operators to be able to control the waste stream.

Optical Sorters. Optical sorters sort the materials in the waste stream by using cameras and lasers to identify and remove materials from the waste stream. They are powered by programs that are used to recognize the color, shape, size and other properties of the objects. The object is then compared against a database of objects that instructs it to reject or accept an object. Optical sorting has an advantage over manual sorting as it improves the quality of the yield while reducing labor costs. 

Optical sorting machines are used in the demolition industry to discard unwanted materials such as plastic, glass, and wood.

Plus, optical sorting machines are used to discard unwanted materials like plastic, glass, wood, and other unprocessable materials. This does not mean these unwanted materials are simply sent to a landfill. The materials can be collected and sent to a recycling center that accepts them. 

Separators Boost Construction and Demolition Company Profits

Another mechanical development that has proven invaluable to C&D recyclers is the eddy current separator. It is used to separate non-ferrous metals out of the waste stream. Examples of non-ferrous metals are aluminum and copper. These metals are separated out of the waste stream at the end of the process, as ferrous metals can become heated when exposed to the eddy current field.

Oregon’s Top Demolition Contractor & Asset Recovery Company

Recycling construction and demolition waste is a great way to help you earn LEED points. With the growing demand for LEED buildings, automated sorting and separation technologies have become a crucial part of recycling of valuable materials.

When choosing a demolition company for your project, be sure the company has an asset recovery program that helps recoup some of the costs associated with the project.

Elder Demolition serves Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Montana. We offer a range of demolition services for both industrial and commercial projects that include asset recovery. Whether your project requires scrap metal recycling, concrete recycling, or steel processing we have you covered. 

Contact Elder Demolition today to discuss your commercial or industrial demolition needs.

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