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The Construction Industry’s Growing Waste Problem



The following content is sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies

The Construction Industry’s Growing Waste Problem

Globally around 2 billion tonnes of waste is generated every year and the construction industry is a large contributor.

What’s more, demand for construction materials is growing alongside population and economic development, but the production of new materials to support this growth consumes both energy and resources.

The above infographic from Northstar Clean Technologies highlights the final destinations of construction and demolition (C&D) debris.

Breaking Down Waste

The sad truth is that only a small amount of C&D debris that could be repurposed actually is.

So where do these materials end up? Let’s take a look at the breakdown of C&D debris by destination in 2018, recorded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Material C&D Debris Type (million tons)LandfillCompost & Mulch Manu. Products Aggregate, Other Fuel Soil Amend.
Gypsum Drywall13.200.2001.9
Metal 1.103.6000
Brick and Clay Tile10.8001.500
Asphalt Shingles13020.10.020
Asphalt Concrete4.9091.810.300

143.8 million tons of C&D waste was sent to landfill in 2018, consisting of a mix of materials ranging from wood, concrete, and asphalt.  

Concrete was the highest repurposed C&D material while other materials like asphalt shingles were primarily sent to landfill. In fact, 86% of total asphalt shingles waste was dumped in landfills in 2018, where they do not decompose or biodegrade. Asphalt shingles are a material found on the roofs of approximately 75% of homes in the U.S. and Canada.

All in all, the average U.S. home can generate around 3-4 tonnes of tear-off waste during a common renovation process, such as re-roofing.

The Benefits of Repurposing Materials

Repurposing materials reduces waste while being both energy and cost-efficient.

The global asphalt market is growing, expected to reach $321.5 million by 2027, a CAGR of 4.8% compared to 2020. With this expected growth, repurposing asphalt shingles is not only a big business opportunity but a path forward to reducing the environmental impact of the construction industry. 

By repurposing materials like asphalt shingles, the waste that goes into landfills can be reduced.

Northstar Clean Technologies reprocesses waste asphalt shingles to target three main sectors: road paving, flat roof manufacturing, and new shingle manufacturing.

Find more on how Northstar Clean Technologies repurposes asphalt shingles by clicking here now.

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