C&D Materials in America
C&D materials constitute a significant waste stream in the United States. These various C&D materials can be diverted from disposal and managed into new productive uses.
EPA’s waste characterization report, the Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2018 Fact Sheet, estimates the C&D material generation and the mass quantities of the generated materials that were directed to next use or sent to landfills in the United States. C&D materials included in the report are steel, wood products, drywall and plaster, brick and clay tile, asphalt shingles, concrete, and asphalt concrete. The generation estimates represent C&D material amounts from construction, renovation and demolition activities for buildings, roads and bridges, and other structures. “Next use” designates an intended next-use market for a C&D material, which depending on the material, may include fuel, manufactured products, aggregate, compost and mulch or soil amendment. Estimates are based on publicly available data from government and industry organizations.
Additional Studies and Reports
- State Specific Information on C&D Materials
- Estimating 2003 Building-Related Construction and Demolition Materials Amounts
- 1998 Characterization of Building-Related Construction and Demolition Debris in the United States
The 2018 Fact Sheet shows:
- 600 million tons of C&D debris were generated in the United States in 2018, which is more than twice the amount of generated municipal solid waste.
- Demolition represents more than 90 percent of total C&D debris generation, while construction represents less than 10 percent.
- Just over 455 million tons of C&D debris were directed to next use and just under 145 million tons were sent to landfills.
- Aggregate was the main next use for the materials in the C&D debris.
Prior to adding C&D materials to the Advancing SMM Report, EPA examined the generation of C&D materials through separate studies. EPA estimated that 136 million tons of building-related C&D materials were generated in the United States in 1996. By 2003, almost 170 million tons of building-related C&D materials were generated. In 2003, nonresidential sources accounted for 61 percent of that amount. The largest building sector that generated C&D materials was nonresidential demolition followed by the residential renovation.