Green / Eco-Friendly

Question about eco-friendly house demolition

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 28th, 2019 8:15 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 11, 2019
87 posts
10 upvotes

Question about eco-friendly house demolition

We bought an old house in Etobicoke, GTA recently to demolish and rebuild. I googled to see if there are eco-friendly ways of demolishing a house and found a few options. But I spoke to my architect who said they're all liars, and you don't know what happens to the cement, drywall, glass etc after the demolition. Anyone have experience or insight into this?

Thanks.
6 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 14, 2004
1442 posts
412 upvotes
Toronto
Taking down an old house is tough...not much can really be saved without a lot of work to separate.

1) Cement (if it can be separated) gets crushed up and reused. This certainly be recycled.
2) Metals - all metals can be melted down if taken to a junk yard. This will be tough if you are taking it down with a bulldozer.
3) Drywall - only when you are putting in new drywall can you take the cutoffs to a dump which accepts it and takes it separated for recycling. It cannot be painted or have any nails in it.
4) Glass - cannot be recycled in Toronto based on my research and even then, would need to be taken out by hand

Reality is, they will take out anything valuable, knock the house down with an excavator, pull out whatever metal they can easily separate (namely beams, appliances, etc.) and send the rest to the dump. Lastly, they will pull out the old foundation and send it to be crushed up.
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 11, 2019
87 posts
10 upvotes
Thanks does the cement get recycled? I wonder if I can ask a regular demolition guy if they can send it to be recycled, or if only an eco-demolition guy would honor that.
Or, a regular demolition guy might just laugh at me?
James_TheVirus wrote: Taking down an old house is tough...not much can really be saved without a lot of work to separate.

1) Cement (if it can be separated) gets crushed up and reused. This certainly be recycled.
2) Metals - all metals can be melted down if taken to a junk yard. This will be tough if you are taking it down with a bulldozer.
3) Drywall - only when you are putting in new drywall can you take the cutoffs to a dump which accepts it and takes it separated for recycling. It cannot be painted or have any nails in it.
4) Glass - cannot be recycled in Toronto based on my research and even then, would need to be taken out by hand

Reality is, they will take out anything valuable, knock the house down with an excavator, pull out whatever metal they can easily separate (namely beams, appliances, etc.) and send the rest to the dump. Lastly, they will pull out the old foundation and send it to be crushed up.

And the old house has a water heater. Would I be able to reuse this or would I be better off giving it away?
Thanks
Deal Addict
Oct 14, 2004
1442 posts
412 upvotes
Toronto
leafsnation98765 wrote: Thanks does the cement get recycled? I wonder if I can ask a regular demolition guy if they can send it to be recycled, or if only an eco-demolition guy would honor that.
Or, a regular demolition guy might just laugh at me?
I bet you would have a hard time finding anyone who wouldn't! It gets ground up and used in new cement/concrete products, or sold as recycled gravel. Generally, they get charged ~$50-100 per truck load to dump it...if they had to dump it in a dump, it would be 20ton x $100 per ton = $2000 to take to the dump. It just makes sense for it to get sent for recycling.
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 11, 2019
87 posts
10 upvotes
James_TheVirus wrote: I bet you would have a hard time finding anyone who wouldn't! It gets ground up and used in new cement/concrete products, or sold as recycled gravel. Generally, they get charged ~$50-100 per truck load to dump it...if they had to dump it in a dump, it would be 20ton x $100 per ton = $2000 to take to the dump. It just makes sense for it to get sent for recycling.

I guess drywall from an existing house would be unlikely to be accepted for recycling, since it's likely to have paint and nails in it.
so can I be assured that the cement and concrete will be recycled with pretty much any demolition company? If so, is that why my architect said the ones who claim to be eco-friendly just do the same thing that everyone else does?

Just want to do my part for the environment since we already have enough trash piling up.
Thanks
Deal Addict
Oct 14, 2004
1442 posts
412 upvotes
Toronto
leafsnation98765 wrote: so can I be assured that the cement and concrete will be recycled with pretty much any demolition company? If so, is that why my architect said the ones who claim to be eco-friendly just do the same thing that everyone else does?

Just want to do my part for the environment since we already have enough trash piling up.
Thanks
During the actual build, you may be able to help with:
1) Take all the offcuts and give to people/put by the street for campfires. Most companies will just throw it in the bin.
2) Ensure the drywall offcuts get sent to a transfer station that recycles drywall (only certain ones do)
3) Actively recycle cardboard in your blue bin (I am assuming you are in Toronto). This is something that you will have to help with along the way.

We tried to do everything we could along the way, but there is only so much you can do. You should also investigate which materials are more environmentally friendly such as low VOC paint, insulation types, etc.
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 11, 2019
87 posts
10 upvotes
I'll try my best and hope the builder won't just roll his eyes at me when I ask for all these things.
Little known fact is that a certain department at U of T recycles all kinds of plastic that nobody else will take like rinsed black plastic, clean cling wrap etc.

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