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Construction and Demolition Waste Reduction and Recycling

The Town of Hillsborough is required by State Law to divert 50% of its waste from landfills. As an estimated 20-30% of all landfilled debris originates from demolition and construction projects, Hillsborough requires applicants for demolition and building permits to execute and adhere to a Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan (“The Plan”). When demolishing a home and constructing a new one, a separate Plan is required for each project. The Plan indicates how the contractor will maximize the recycling of debris and other waste generated during demolition, new construction, remodel, roofing, landscape and other construction projects.

At the completion of the job but before the final inspection is granted, the contractor must document compliance with the recycling ordinance by submitting all recycling and disposal facility weight tickets and, if applicable, salvage receipts. Final inspections will not be completed until all documentation has been submitted. In addition, violation of any of the following provisions shall subject the violator to a penalty of up to ten times the demolition or building permit fee:

  • performing demolition or construction work without having an approved Waste Reduction Plan;
  • failure to comply with an Waste Reduction Plan;
  • failure to provide all required documentation prior to final inspection.

Deconstruction and Salvage

Salvaging materials for reuse in their existing form is the highest and best form of recycling. If a structure is to be partially or wholly demolished, some level of deconstruction and salvaging of materials should take place. Basic salvage of easily removed appliances, doors and fixtures almost always happens before a demolition. However, deconstruction companies go much farther and remove lumber, flooring, windows, brick and many other materials for reuse before the remainder of the house is demolished.

floor joists salvage

These companies may work in conjunction with your demolition contractor or provide full deconstruction and demolition services. If the organization is a non-profit, the homeowner may be able to write-off the fair market value of the salvaged items.

Prior to demolition, schedule a site visit with the Town’s Recycling Specialist and the contractor. During the visit, salvage opportunities will be discussed and recycling requirements will be reviewed. The Recycling Specialist will also provide a list of possible deconstruction and salvage service providers. The contractor is responsible for providing sufficient time for deconstruction organizations to maximize their salvage efforts prior to demolition. Hillsborough recognizes that the more time a deconstruction company is allotted, the more it can salvage. Contractors may perform deconstruction and salvage in advance of building permit issuance as long as a Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan has been approved by the Town’s Recycling Specialist and a demolition permit has been issued.

Source Separation of Debris

Job site separation of non-salvageable but otherwise recyclable debris materials will facilitate recycling, and is strongly encouraged. For example, the separation of both scrap wood and drywall during the construction of a house should be undertaken if feasible, particularly where those materials represent a large portion of the total materials generated. To encourage source separation, facilities often accept separated materials at a lower fee than mixed debris. Debris box companies may offer similar discounts. Labeling debris containers and educating subcontractors will help ensure clean, source-separated loads.

scrap wood pile

Recycling Facilities and Haulers

Materials that have been source separated at the job site and contain very little or no contamination may go to any recycling facility the contractor chooses—but if recycling credit is desired, the facility must be able to provide proof of recycling. Along those lines, it is important to get the appropriate material code (e.g., “wood”, “sheetrock”) on receipts so that full recycling credit can be given for source separation efforts. Also ensure that the facility does not use the debris as Alternative Daily Cover (ADC). ADC is used to cover the working surface of landfills to control odor, windblown debris, and rodents, and is not considered recycled material by the Town of Hillsborough.

Contractors intending to haul mixed debris (e.g., drywall, insulation, plastic, wood, brick, roofing material, etc. all combined in one load), must take it to a facility approved for recycling mixed debris. Zanker Road Materials Processing Facility, for example, will sort and divert from the landfill at least 60% (on average) of the mixed debris hauled to its facility. Contact the Town’s Recycling Specialist for a current list of approved mixed debris processing facilities.

Only debris box companies with a Town franchise are permitted to operate in Hillsborough. These companies have agreed to recycle at least half of all the materials they haul from Hillsborough Town limits. Still, the contractor is responsible for directing the debris box company (as with any hauler) as to where the debris should be hauled for recycling. Contact the Town’s Recycling Specialist for a current list of approved debris box companies.

Documentation

Contractors must account for all construction and demolition debris (whether salvaged, recycled or disposed) that leaves their job sites. This includes any debris hauled by subcontractors such as drywallers. Prior to final inspection, the receipts should be summarized on a Diversion Summary Sheet and then submitted to the Recycling Specialist for review.

General contractors should consider inserting recycling language into their sub-contracts to help ensure adherence to The Plan. Similarly, debris haulers should be reminded of the facilities to be used, and that they must obtain and retain properly coded (e.g., “concrete”, “green waste”) receipts for all loads from all facilities to which they haul debris. In addition to the material type, receipts should show the date, project address, city of origin, and amount of material that was recycled or disposed.

For demolition projects, the Recycling Specialist will review the documentation to verify that the recycling goals were met before the construction permit will be issued. For alteration and new construction projects, review and acceptance of recycling and documentation is required before scheduling a final inspection.

QUESTIONS? Please contact our Recycling Specialist at (650) 375-7403.


The Town of Hillsborough 1600 Floribunda Avenue, Hillsborough, CA 94010 (650) 375-7400
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