Information Papers

Construction and Demolition Recycling Program

What is it?  
Wherever there are Army installations and facilities, construction and/or demolition activities will be occurring.  Buildings, roads, parking areas, and utility systems are either being torn down, renovated, or under construction.  Demolition, or facilities reduction/removal, projects generate a large quantity of waste in a short period of time, compared to new construction or renovation projects.  The types of materials generated, which eventually have to be removed from the site, are pretty much the same for both demolition and construction, i.e., wood, metals (copper, iron and steel), plastic, drywall, concrete, etc., but their condition and final disposition depend a great deal on whether recycling and recovering of materials were factored into the planning process early enough and there is a local champion to devote time, energy and resources to explore alternatives to just dumping everything into a landfill.

During the 1990’s, the Defense Department’s real property inventory was bulging with excess, obsolete buildings which were very costly to maintain and almost as costly to eliminate.  Things came to a head when the Defense Reform Initiative Program Directive #36, was issued on May 8, 1998, mandating that the services shed 80 million square feet of excess building space by 2003, 53.2 million belonging to the Army.  At that time, little attention was given to the impact of this amount of demolition waste on Army landfills or operations and maintenance budgets if hauled off-site to private dumping site.  World War II wooden buildings could be knocked down with heavy equipment, loaded onto dump trucks to be hauled to the dump, the site graded, and seeded within a few days.  Sustainability had not yet become a word in our vocabulary.

How big is this problem? Over the past four fiscal years (FY04-07), the Army generated an average of 1.38 million tons of construction and demolition wastes.  Typically weighing 500 pounds per cubic yard, this much construction and demolition (C&D) wastes would overfill the New Orleans Superdome.  From a sustainability perspective, there are a multitude of environmental benefits to reusing or recycling construction and demolition (CD) wastes, other than saving landfill capacity or lowering hauling and tipping fees.  Positive benefits include reducing the need for landfill expansions and reusing recyclable materials is less costly and more environmentally friendly than extracting virgin materials for processing into the supply chain for manufacturing new goods.
Today, the Army is experiencing a significant resurgence in both facilities to remove as well as new ones to construct, due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005, Global War On Terror (GWOT), Army Transformation, Grow the Force, and Re-stationing units back to CONUS.  

What has the Army done?
As the Army implemented BRAC 2005, GWOT, etc. major new construction and facilities removal projects were programmed, planned, budgeted, and are now being executed.  Simultaneously, policies and procedures were being put into place to embed into the construction and facilities reduction processes, the mandatory requirement to divert at least 50 percent of the construction and demolition (CD) wastes generated during those projects, through reuse or recycling of construction materials.  Guiding principles for this program are derived from or contained in the following:

The 50 percent construction and demolition diversion goal has been adopted by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the standard RFP templates under the Military Construction Transformation Initiative.  Starting with the FY08 program, all new Army military construction must comply with the 50 percent goal, which has also become a federal standard, as adopted in the Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Guiding Principles.  The MOU requires at least 50 percent of the construction and demolition debris are recycled or salvaged.  In addition, the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) New Construction rating criteria, credits 1 point for achieving 50 percent diversion of (CD) wastes. 

REAL PROPERTY INVENTORY
(Million Square Feet)


    CATEGORY

    YEAR

    ACTIVE

    RESERVES

    GUARD

    TOTAL ARMY

    WWII Wood

    1992

    80.2

    0

    3.3

    83.6

    Total Inventory

    1196.2

    0

    12.4

    1208.6

    WWII Wood

    Change

    (62.7)

    2.6

    2.3

    (57.9)

    Total Inventory

    (310.5)

    52.4

    22.9

    (235.2)

    WWII Wood

    2006

    17.5

    2.6

    5.6

    25.7

    Total Inventory

    885.7

    52.4

    35.3

    973.4

 

FY07 FACILITIES REDUCTION PROGRAM RESULTS


    Installation

    Wood  (tons)

    Metal (tons)

    Masonry Asphalt Concrete (tons)

    Total Waste Diverted (tons)

    Total Waste (tons)

    Percent Diverted
    (percent)

    Fort Drum

    174

    19

    480

    673

    673

    100

    Fort Hamilton

    305

    275

    9000

    10780

    10810

    99.7

    Fort Huachuca

    32

    322

    175

    529

    529

    100

    Fort Polk

    25

    5

    1200

    1245

    1420

    87.7

    Fort Riley

    158

    64

    226

    448

    448

    100

    Fort Irwin

    0

    80

    4500

    4580

    4580

    100

    Fort Leonard Wood

    0

    227

    4383

    4635

    5078

    91.3

    Picatinny Arsenal

    0

    17

    675

    712

    984

    72.4

    Iowa Army Ammunition Plant

    200

    190

    2013

    2403

    2706

    88.8

    Lake City Army Ammunition Plant

    0

    400

    17173

    17573

    20941

    83.9

    Radford Army Ammunition Plant

    300

    8500

    0

    8800

    8800

    100

    TOTALS

    1194

    10099

    39825

    52378

    56969

    92

 

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future?  
The Army must continue to plan, program and budget for the sustainable removal of excess, obsolete, and energy in-efficient facilities in its inventory. Expertise should be developed on the regional level to support installations as they develop projects for the sustainable removal of buildings and structures. There are national experts within the Army in the art and science of sustainable facilities removal techniques, whose vast network of industry and academic contacts can be tapped to address specific installation problems. A near-term issue is the disposal of nearly $10 Million of relocatable buildings acquired to quickly adsorb the new Modular Forces  until permanent military construction can be brought online. Things to do:

Why is this important to the Army?
The Army has the largest real property inventory within the Defense Department, and DoD is the largest federal agency within the US Government.  As the Army transforms to meet the missions of the future, our installations will be ridding themselves of outmoded, excess, and temporary building space.  How we do this in a sustainable way is as important as how our Soldiers train to fight.  There are global implications if we do not minimize what we put into landfills by recycling or reusing Construction & Demolition wastes.