Building a single family home in the United States typically produces between three to five pounds of waste per square foot (SIH). Costs of disposing this waste are mounting throughout the country, and environmental aspects of this issue are receiving heightened scrutiny. Although research on this topic has shown that 80 percent of waste generated during the construction of a home can be recycled ( Laquatra and Pierce 2004; SBIC 2007), less than 30 percent actually is ( Martin 2007). This is likely to change as state and local government regulations of construction waste increase, with some mandating waste recycling. In addition, builders who participate in green building programs are learning that reducing the amount of waste generated during construction, and recycling waste that is produced, earns points toward certification.
This paper describes elements of a successful waste management plan for home builders. Issues specific to each type of waste are examined, and ideas for improving recycling at construction sites are presented.