As a responsible business owner, you want to know what happens to the materials used in commercial properties when they’re demolished. We understand. Businesses in the United States are more interested than ever in going green. Insight into the life cycle of building materials could help you bolster your environmental credentials and improve your supply chain.
At Bella Contracting, we strive to use environmentally-friendly demolition techniques whenever possible. We recycle all kinds of building materials, from steel to concrete, through a variety of different recycling programs.
Commercial glass recycling is, unfortunately, next to impossible. The reasons for this have to do with the differences between consumer and commercial glass.
Consumer glass vs. commercial glass
To some, it’s surprising to learn that commercial glass is not recycled. After all, returning beer bottles to a depot for recycling is incredibly commonplace. Unfortunately, recycling depots don’t have the capacity to recycle commercial glass.
There are a number of reasons for this. First, commercial glass is made to be more heat-resistant, which makes it extremely difficult to recycle. The glass recycling process involves crushing, blending, and melting glass – the higher temperatures at which commercial glass melts make it unsuitable for most depots.
Commercial glass may have a number of other qualities that make it unsuitable for recycling. Depots are less inclined to accept colored glass – businesses that are in the market for recycled glass rarely want colored glass in their finished products. Lamination and coatings mean that commercial glass can’t be crushed and mixed with other glass.
Commercial glass recycling depots with the capacity to remove or otherwise reuse such coatings could be developed. These depots could be built with furnaces capable of melting heat-resistant glass, and sorting methods to keep different types of commercial glass in the same waste stream.
Even that wouldn’t fix the problem, however. The biggest hurdle, when it comes to recycling commercial glass, is the demolition process. When a building is demolished, the glass is contaminated by all kinds of debris from the rest of the building. This contamination is nearly impossible to remove, making the glass unrecyclable.
Can commercial glass be recycled?
Hypothetically, yes, but only with substantial effort on behalf of the demolition contractors – and at substantial cost to the business owner.
First, you would need to assess whether or not the glass in question is suitable for recycling. As discussed, a variety of things (coatings, heat-resistance, coloration) might disqualify the glass.
If the glass can be recycled, it would need to be carefully removed by demolition experts. This structural demolition would increase the length of the overall demolition, as the glass would need to be removed before mechanical demolition could occur.
That means that even if commercial glass can be recycled, business owners rarely opt to do so; the costs of recycling commercial glass, at this time, far exceed the benefits.
Our clean-up process
Wherever possible, we direct our waste streams towards reuse and recycling. We would love it if our recycling efforts could include glass – at this point in time, they rarely can.
Of course, if our clients need us to recycle glass, arrangements can be made – but these arrangements would come at a much higher cost than a classic mechanical or explosive demolition.
As it stands, our clean-up process is as efficient as possible. We gather any construction materials that can be recycled or reused, and sort them appropriately. In the case of glass or other unrecyclable materials, we simply throw them in a dumpster and haul them away.
Our demolition services are all-inclusive. That means that when a demolition project is completed, you won’t see any debris left on the job site. We’re kind of like a mindful National Parks visitor – we leave no trace.
We hope to one day see commercial glass recycling in New Jersey – when the technology catches up with the need, we’ll certainly consider incorporating it in our clean-up process. We already recycle other construction materials, and our goal is to always have the most efficient and environmentally-friendly clean-up process we can.
Commercial demolition in New Jersey
Whether you have a building that’s made up almost entirely of commercial glass, or you have a Brutalist building made almost entirely of concrete, we can demolish it. We work on projects of all sizes. With almost 20 years of experience with demolition in New Jersey, if someone can build it, we can knock it down. We also offer emergency demolition in Essex NJ