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  • Writer's pictureUS Industrial

Professionally handling commercial demolition and construction waste

A huge range of products and materials go into building construction, and even though demolition can be an extremely destructive process, all those materials eventually have to be sorted through for recycling, re-use, or responsible disposal. The US creates around 600 million tons of debris waste every year, and at that scale even materials which are used very little in any individual building, can add up to a lot across large area like Chicago or Illinois.

Most of the waste materials on a site are quire simple to deal with and simply need sorting; concrete, bricks, ceramics, wood, glass, plastics, stone, and asphalt can all be recycled in various ways, and many of them can also be re-used on new construction projects. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals, which includes pipework and electrical wiring, are excellent for recycling and re-use, and materials like soil, rocks, shrubs, or trees can sometimes be reused or safely disposed of through a landfill.

Some of the more complicated materials in commercial demolition projects include insulation which must always be carefully handled and inspected for products like asbestos fibres or formaldehyde, and hazardous waste items, which is where pre-demolition inspections by an expert become essential.

Hazardous waste is very common in commercial demolition projects

There can often be an assumption that many commercial buildings won't have hazardous materials in them, but they can be very common even in quite modern commercial office blocks, the property doesn't have to be an old or industrial one. One of the best known hazardous materials, asbestos, was still being quite widely used in construction as recently as 2000; dangerous materials are still very common, some other examples are;


A wide range of chemicals go into batteries, including mercury, lead, cadmium and silver which are all extremely hazardous materials requiring proper disposal to keep them out of the environment.

PCB Caulking

This material was used extensively before the 1980s as a joint sealant between brick, stone, and metal window frames, which can affect the process and safety measures used across the whole demolition project.

Lamp ballasts

These are used in the circuits of lighting systems including many flourescents, and often include PCB caulking which has to be tested for, and safely removed if found.

Speciality light bulbs including flourescent

Many light bulbs contain mercury, including most flourescent and high density discharge bulbs. It's important to remove all lightbulbs from a property before demolition takes place.

Mercury is found in many electrical fittings

Almost all the electrics need a good pre-demolition inspection, even in domestic properties mercury can be found in light switches, flow meters and switches, thermostats, pressure gauges, and drain traps.

Beyond these hidden hazards there are plenty more which are overlooked; adhesives, aerosol cans, plasterboard, paint thinners and strippers, and paint itself can all be found in many buildings and must be removed before demolition and disposed of in a responsible way following EPA guidelines.

Trust in a professional industrial and commercial demolitions expert

If you find any of these items or materials in a property it's important not to pull it out yourself; just like asbestos these materials all need expert handling and disposal to ensure nothing can leak into the environment or create other risks to human health. The older the building, the higher the risk of finding the most hazardous materials, but they can be present almost anywhere including offices, warehouses and even domestic homes.

Whether you're planning commercial demolition in Chicago or any other part of Illinois or the US, always turn to a professional demolitions company for clear guidance and support. They can help you inspecting, finding, and safely removing hazardous waste materials from your building pre-demolition, and can build a clear plan for the waste sorting and management of the standard building materials from site to recycling, reuse, or landfill.


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