No waste: 11 green stars of construction recycling
As Earth Day nears, we are recognizing companies doing their part to protect the planet.
An Unbuilders worker hauls away material from a site. – Unbuilders
Earth Day, April 22, is nearly upon us.
It’s is a time to reflect on the planet and ways that we can make it better. As the globe is facing the impacts of climate change, the construction sector has its own role play in reducing its environmental impact. Here are 11 companies that are doing their part to reduce, reuse and recycle rather than throw away and start from scratch.
It’s not demolition. It’s deconstruction. Unbuilders is a team of former-carpenters, roofers, framers, and tradespeople who have transitioned to recycling buildings. The B.C.-based company deconstructs and salvages most of the building’s components yielding less than 5% waste on average. On each project, Unbuilders diverts 50 tonnes of waste and salvages 10 tonnes of lumber.
CarbonCure wants to transform one of the most-used materials on the planet: concrete. The Nova Scotia company creates carbon removal technologies that introduce recycled CO2 into fresh concrete to reduce its carbon footprint, without compromising performance. Earlier this year, CarbonCure announced it was part of a project team that captured CO2 via direct air capture and permanently stored it in concrete for the first time.
GRT’s recycling facility in Nanaimo takes contaminated soils and muds bound for landfills and cleans them. The material can then be used to make clean clay and gravel for landscaping, construction and even capping landfills. It is one of only three soil reclamation companies in North America.
This mining company plans to take processed tailings from its Montauban project in Quebec and combine them with an organic Polymer. They can then use the mixture to create building materials with shapes including, bricks, cinder blocks, paving stones, patio tiles, Parking Columns and Highway Jersey Barriers used to define traffic lanes.
Wall to Wall
When Christina Wall couldn’t find any option for budget renovators to reuse construction materials, she decided to do it herself. Wall to Wall in Prince George is a hub for those looking for used construction materials like nails, light fixtures, air duct covers, cabinets and more. According to the Prince George Post, since 2019 Wall has collected and sold more than 47 tonnes of construction material that was bound for the dump.
Last year Lafarge Canada announced it had fully transformed its Brookfield Cement Plant’s cement production in Nova Scotia to produce a reduced carbon portland limestone cement – branded as OneCem – the company’s eco-efficient alternative. It is one of several plants that Lafarge has converted over the past few years.
New West Gypsum Recycling
Saint-Gobain’s subsidiary, CertainTeed, announced this month it had achieved a major milestone: returning one million tonnes of recycled gypsum back into production. The company’s Delta, B.C. facility achieved this by partnering with New West Gypsum to process old gypsum into new products. New West has facilities all over Canada and internationally.
Renewal Home Development
Where some see the past, Renewal Home Development sees the future. The Vancouver company seeks to save, relocate and repurpose high-value homes for new owners in coastal communities in the Pacific Northwest. Renewal estimates that as much as 20% of the 3,800 single family homes slated for demolition each year across coastal B.C. are in good to excellent condition and worth trying to physically relocate and repurpose.
B.C.-based green construction company, Nexii Building Solutions Inc. has achieved the TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Gold Certification for Zero Waste for its Squamish Manufacturing Plant. This achievement makes Nexii the first construction manufacturing company in North America to receive this prestigious recognition. In addition to leading the industry on Zero Waste certification, Nexii designs and manufactures its products for deconstruction and reuse.
PLAEX Building Systems Inc.
Drawing on his more than two decades of building experience, PLAEX founder Dustin Bowers collaborated with industry leaders to develop a new sustainable building material. The New Brunswick company’s interlocking construction system is made from more than 90% recycled waste including agricultural, marine, and industrial plastic waste and dry aggregates such as plaster, concrete, brick, and/or glass.
North Star Clean Technologies
North Star recently received an Environmental Awareness Award from the Waste Management Association of B.C. (WMABC) for its efforts to recycle roof shingles. The company’s proprietary reprocessing technology recovers 100 percent of the constituent components of asphalt shingles, otherwise destined for landfill, for reuse in the circular economy.