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Recycling During Construction and Beyond

Just a little update on our progress: At the moment, renovation of the first of four buildings is nearing completion.  We’ve replaced the drafty single-paned windows in all four buildings, and we will soon have a model unit ready to show you!  As we close in on finishing the first building, we are clearing out the interiors of the second building, overhauling the mechanical systems, and preparing to transform the interior spaces.

As a renovation, this project produces less waste than new construction, and we’re working to divert as much waste from the landfill as possible.  Through careful sorting and collection, we expect to greatly exceed the LEED guideline of recycling or reusing half of construction waste.

We are collecting unusable pipe and other metal for recycling (that’s our pile in the photo above!).  We are also separating wood for recycling.  There were several serviceable appliances and building materials recovered from the buildings.  We donated these to Habitat for Humanity of Washington County and Miracle League of Northwest Arkansas, which provides opportunity for children with disabilities to play baseball on a special field in Springdale.

Recycling at ECO is not limited to the construction phase, in fact, recycling during the renovation is the easy part.  We are determined to offer recycling to ECO community members—a challenge we are embracing. 

Recycling in apartments in Fayetteville is extremely limited.  We have been talking with the city’s waste reduction coordinator about recycling household waste from ECO.  The city’s solid waste division did a survey of recycling in multi-family housing around the country, and found that no one really felt like they were really doing it successfully.  There are generally high levels of contamination in recycling collected from apartments and the materials end up not being recycled, which is a waste of everyone’s resources.

It’s clear that it’s going to take some thoughtful planning to create a system to sort and collect recyclables from 96 apartments, but we’re determined to make it happen!  Do you know a multi-family recycling success story?  What are your ideas for making it work?