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Construction & Demolition Waste

Construction and demolition debris makes up nearly 12% of the City of Tacoma's waste stream at the transfer station. As part of the City’s Environmental Action Plan, 70% of overall waste is to be diverted or reduced by 2028.


Construction and demolition waste can include wood, concrete, drywall, masonry, roofing, siding, structural metal, wire, insulation, asphalt, and packaging material generated as a result of construction or demolition projects.


Are You Dumping Dollars at Your Work Site?

It may be more convenient and less expensive to reduce, reuse or recycle your job site waste than to dispose of it in the landfill. Sending materials for reuse often doesn’t cost a contractor or homeowner anything, and recycling fees for construction and demolition materials are generally lower than disposal fees. You can discover some of these these simple and cost-effective waste diversion strategies below: 



The best way to manage your construction and demolition waste is to not create it in the first place.

  • Work with clients, designers, and architects to select designs that use materials efficiently and that can be recycled or repurposed at end of life. For example, advanced framing can reduce the amount of structural lumber required by 25%.
  • Reevaluate estimating procedures to ensure the correct amount of each material is delivered.
  • Review and modify storage-handling practices to reduce material loss from weather and other damage.
  • Request that vendors deliver materials in returnable, reusable containers.
  • Reuse materials on-site when possible.


Salvaging building materials can be a win-win for you with cost savings and potential revenue. Reusing building materials not only benefits the environment and your pocketbook, it also supports local businesses and helps create jobs in the Puget Sound region.

  • Determine what materials and how much of each will be generated on site.
  • Check on acceptance and value of materials with a local salvage or deconstruction company listed here. Contact them about the project as early in the development process as possible. A lot of salvage can occur before the demolition permit is approved.
  • Decide who will do the salvaging – your crew, a subcontractor or a specialized salvage company.
  • Click here for a list of local salvage and recycling companies. 


Recyclable construction and demolition materials can be source-separated on site or commingled and hauled off site to a sorting facility for separation and recycling. Both Built Green and LEED green building certification programs award builders who achieve at least a 50% recycling rate on their projects.

  • Determine what materials will be recycled and how they will be collected.
  • Communicate waste handling procedures and expectations with your crew and subcontractors.
  • Minimize contamination with clear signage and regular inspections.
  • Click here for a list of local salvage and recycling companies.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need to separate out my construction waste?

Yes, salvage and recycling companies require you to separate your construction waste from your general waste stream on site. Beyond that, the level of separation will depend on the requirements of your receiving vendor and site conditions. Source separation of materials can be more cost-effective and help you achieve higher reuse and recycling rates. Co-mingled collection can save space on tight job sites with fewer containers.


How do I know what materials to salvage or recycle?

This depends on several factors. Quality and condition of materials is important. Demand for products is also considered. Contact a local salvage or recycling business to learn more or to schedule an on-site assessment. Click here to view the list of local salvage or recycling businesses.


Can I save money or get paid for my materials?

Most salvage companies provide store credit, cash or free removal for certain building materials. Regardless of material compensation, you can save on landfill and transportation costs and potentially receiving a tax deduction. And recycling fees are almost always less than landfill fees.


Why can't I just bring my construction waste to the Tacoma Transfer Station for recycling?

The Tacoma Transfer Station cannot recycle construction and demolition waste because it requires extra space for sorting, special handling and additional equipment. All self-haul waste shall be charged and processed as garbage, with rates based on 100-pound increments (any fraction of 100 pounds will be billed as 100 pounds). Current tipping fees are $20/ton for 0-400 lbs; $116/ton for 400-2,000 lbs; and $136/ton for 2,000+ lbs vs. an average of $70/ton at recycling companies.


View the list of local salvage and recycling companies

Contact Information 

For more information about responsibly managing construction and demolition waste or to add your business to our list of local salvage and recycling companies, contact Beth Jarot, Green Building Specialist at bjarot@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 208-4351.