Demolition of buildings happened all over the industrialized world for decades without any thought being given to how that might effect the planet. Today, we understand that things like demolition can cause problems for the environment if not done correctly. And now that we know, we can work to reduce or even eliminate the ill environmental effects by focusing on green demolition. This approach to demolition has many advantages.
Careful demolition of buildings results not in waste, but in recoverable materials. Recovered materials can be reused in all kinds of construction projects. Metal can be recovered and recycled, concrete can be ground and remixed, and lumber can be used again in new wooden construction. Doing this saves resources by reducing our need to harvest, manufacture, or mine them, with the concomitant advantage of reducing the pollution and energy usage associated with that resource collection. Recycling these materials also reduces solid waste and helps reduce demand for limited landfill space. As 20 percent of solid waste produced is from construction and demolition, this is a substantial savings. These recovered resources can also result in lower costs, as the materials can be reused or sold.
To be environmentally friendly, industrial sites can often require cleanup in addition to green demolition. Hazardous waste removal companies are often called in to handle these types of sites and remove these toxins. Examples of these substances include lead and PCBs. If left alone, they could lead to water contamination or become airborne pollutants.
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If you demolish a building with dangerous substances in it, the process can release toxins into the air. An older building, even one not used in industry, is likely to contain these substances, as well. Fatal illnesses can arise in people who inhale mold or asbestos, for example, and these types of buildings are likely to contain them. A real green demolition would include cleaning up these materials as well as handling the demolition in a responsible way. If they don’t, they are releasing dangerous toxins into the environment that can prove to have worse immediate consequences for the environment than long term pollutants like greenhouse gases. These substances are particularly harmful as they don’t disperse, but instead settle into the soil around the site, making them susceptible to being stirred up again and again in the future.
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A deconstruction and demolition company that also handles hazardous waste cleanup is the right choice for sites that may contain dangerous materials. This way, you can recover resources and clean up the site at the same time. This option is also easier for you, as you won’t need to juggle the work of two separate companies as they work on your site.