Keeping Your Construction Site Clean And Green


According to Construction Specifications Canada, construction and demo waste makeup 23 percent of society’s overall waste and is the greatest producer of wood waste in North America. More than half of construction and demolition-related debris is recyclable or reusable and doesn’t need to end up in landfills. Builders may assume that environmentally friendly practices will hurt their bottom line, but waste diversion can reduce disposal costs by up to 30 percent!


1.       Set up a designated recycling station. Dedicate bins or a site area for diverting materials such as metal, cardboard, plastics, drywall, clean wood as well as reusable building materials. Not only does taking metal to the scrap yard keep these materials out of the landfill, you’ll generate funds to help pay for end-of-the-week beers or treats for the crew. It’s a win-win!

2.       Encourage designs that create less waste creation. Raise awareness of expected environmentally conscious waste management practices at the beginning of the project, we need to lead by example. Use standard sizes and qualities of materials and always plan ahead to reduce cut-offs and over-ordering, unless used items can be returned or donated.

3.       Think twice before you toss it. Could it be reused? Usable lumber up to 4 feet can be taken to not for profits such as Habitat for Humanity; Restore, Squamish ReBuild, Urban Repurpose, and Whistler Re-Build-It Centre - extra dimple mat or blue rigid insulation is also a great material to donate too. Give them a call and they will be sure to answer all your donation questions!

4.       Deconstruction is the future. Dismantle buildings rather than knock them down to increase the amount of undamaged materials that can be salvaged and donated.

5.       Reusable mugs and bottles DO make an impact. Invest in reusable mugs or bottles for your crew, since nearly half of the garbage collected on construction sites are from disposable coffee cups and single-use containers. As an extra step, supply a water service for your site. Less plastic water bottles the better!

6.       Be a recycling hero! Take the lead on-site. Download the Recycling Council of B.C.’s mobile Recyclepedia app. It’s a quick and simple tool that helps you find more than 1,000 drop-off locations and recycling options for over 70 materials or products across the province or give your local Recycling Hotline a call.

These small acts create big impacts towards keeping your construction site clean and green!

Sea to Sky Removal is the first waste hauling company in Canada to implement award-winning on-site recycling stations on construction sites to make sorting recyclables easier. Each of their recycling stations can divert nearly half a tonne (300 pounds) from the landfill, and our crews hand-sort every load to ensure the maximum tonnage of recyclables are diverted. We donate reusable materials to non-profits, such as Habitat for Humanity; ReStore. You can even request a waste audit and photo documentation, so you’ll know exactly where your materials end up.

As a financial incentive, keeping recyclables out of landfills reduces waste management costs.

Landfill Diversion Part 1 – Where to Donate Construction Materials


When you visit a landfill you will witness first hand the amount of needless waste that is thrown away and if you haven’t ever been, go. Yes, it’s smelly (and probably not a great social outing) but we promise it will make you think twice about what you throw away on your construction site.

We are passionate about landfill diversion as it’s the process that will keep the most amount of materials from ending up in our landfills. The success of this diversion can be measured by comparing the size of the landfill from one year to the next. Most municipalities and cities are dealing with the issue of where to expand their landfills to, or altogether start new landfills as the old ones are full.

We dedicate Part 1 of this blog post to where you can donate extra construction materials lying around your site. We also work with these organizations on a project by project basis.

With all the construction waste we haul from sites throughout the Lower Mainland and the Sea to Sky Corridor, it would be easy just to dump everything straight into the landfill and just head on to the next job. But that way of thinking doesn’t align with our values! Our mission is to try and keep as much construction waste out of our local landfills as we can by donating building materials that can be repurposed such as:

·       Appliances

·       Tools and Hardware

·       Windows and Solid Core Doors

·       Lumber, Trim, Plywood (nails removed and min. 4ft length)

·       Light Fixtures, Lamps and Ceiling Fans

·       Sinks and Toilets

·       Drywall (full sheets) & Insulation (full bag)

·       Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets

·       Paint min. ¾ full, less than year old with labels

There are two awesome places in which we donate used building materials in the Sea to Sky Corridor, which are Squamish ReBuild and Whistler Re-Build-It Centre.

Squamish Rebuild is a not-for-profit social enterprise that diverts reusable construction 'waste' from the landfill and provides community members with good quality, affordable building supplies.

The other place we like to donate building materials to is Whistler Re-Use-It Centre. Their mission is to provide programs and services that support social sustainability in Whistler and their vision is “To be the leading social service resource in Whistler by responding to the changing needs of a diverse Whistler community.”

In the Lower Mainland we like to donate construction materials to Restore, which has locations in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby and Maple Ridge.

Did you know that Habitat for Humanity works with families in need (or as we call them, Partner Families) to build safe, decent and affordable housing? Houses are sold to Partner Families with no down-payment and are financed with affordable, no interest mortgages. Families invest 500 hours of their own labour, what we refer to as sweat equity, into building their own houses and those of other families.

A ReStore is a home decor and building supply store that sells new and gently-used items for your home and garden. The best part is that they are mainly volunteer-run; ReStore is a social enterprise and funds 100% of Habitat's operations. And it's from this money that we build homes for our deserving partner families. A win-win situation all-around!

Another place we like to work within the lower mainland is RE/PURPOSE, which is dedicated to reducing the levels of construction, deconstruction, and other wastes entering our landfills and incinerators through their redirection back into the community as useable items or as raw manufacturing materials.

And there you have it, these are great places to donate used building materials to and they align with our values by keeping as much construction waste out of our local landfills as well as building community and being environmentally focused. Stay tuned for our next Landfill Diversion blog post on where we recycle construction waste.

Efficient AND SUSTAINABLE Construction Waste Management Practices


We thought we’d share some of our knowledge when it comes to efficient construction waste management practices done with an environmental focus.

Having a team dedicated to keeping a construction site clean and green is the key but more importantly, how can it be implemented? By training your crew on how to dispose of all the construction waste properly and also having a waste hauler who is focused on keeping as much out of the landfill as possible.

First, may we suggest having a recycling station for metal, cardboard, and plastic (ideal for packaging foam, coffee lids, hard packaging from tools, or finishing items). We have implemented these stations on construction sites and feel they have been incredibly successful on diverting waste from our local landfills.

In regards to other construction materials perhaps considered garbage, we have broken it down for you plus if you can find dedicated spaces for all these materials and label them, you are way ahead of the game!

Drywall: This has to be separated no matter what, so we suggested keep it in a separate pile. Drywall must be date-stamped showing 1987 or newer, or pre 1987 must be accompanied by a testing report from an approved facility such as A.C.M. Environmental in Vancouver or Kinetic OHS Services in North Vancouver that shows it to be free and clear of asbestos and other banned material. For the Sea to Sky Corridor this date is 1990.

If you do not have time to get it tested we'd be happy to provide this service for you for a fee of $100 plus the testing fee. All we would need is a sample that contains a section of tape and mud (as this is where the asbestos will be found if present) and be bagged in a zip-lock bag with the address and location in the house/building where it was taken from written on it e.g kitchen or bathroom.

To learn more about sustainable recycling of drywall read our blog post about it here.

Clean Wood: Any building wood that is free and clear of paint or any stain. Most transfer stations don’t allow plywood to go in a clean wood pile but Whistler and Squamish accept it in the clean wood load. If we find lengths of 4 feet or more that can be reused we donated them to local non for profits who will repurpose them.

Dirty Wood: As mentioned above, plywood and gluelam are sadly considered garbage at most transfer stations as well as painted or stained wood so keep these in your garbage pile unless you have a project in the Sea to Sky Corridor in which they will accept plywood and gluelam in the wood pile.

Stone: If you have broken up concrete without rebar or bricks, that can actually get recycled, so keep that in a separate pile.

Food Waste: Food waste can be composted, but please keep this secure in case you have any furry visitors on your site. Being bear and critter aware is important. With that said, our solution is to have plywood boxes made with a hinged top that has double locks on it. The bins should be sized to accommodate two standard Rubbermaid bins. To save on costs, bins made by crew might be the best option. We will be able to service these as needed but expecting it to be weekly or bi-weekly depending on the size.

These bins should solely be used for the organic waste created. Wrappers or packaging will NOT go in these bins, just organics to save space and make it so these bins can be recycled straight into organics at the landfill. We will provide your site with the compostable bin liners needed to make the disposal of these as cheap and efficient as possible. 

Carpet: Receiving requirements for carpet and underlay recycling must be dry and free of debris. Rolls need to be self-tied with carpet tail, string/twine or tape. Carpet and underlay should be cut in strips that are no more than 4’6” wide. No carpet from staircases, due to all the staples. Carpet and underlay must be free from staples and rolled separately. Underlay can be stacked on the same pallet as carpet. No small carpet scraps or trimmings, these go into the garbage pile. No rubber underlay. No construction debris (e.g. asbestos, sheetrock), tack strips, transition mouldings, and food scraps. We will be able to get this recycled for you so please contact us ahead of time so we can consult with you on this process.

Garbage: Keep a lot of garbage bins around your sites including clear garbage bags. Clear garbage bags also help to see what has been disposed of. We are always surprised to see so many sites without garbage bins! If you have labeled garbage bins on site your crews will know what they can dispose of in them.

Here is a list of construction waste that is considered waste:

Dirty paint brushes, anything with paint on it such as clear plastic or wood, insulation, damaged tarps, MDF, ceiling tile, coffee cups, hoses, dirty buckets, vapour barrier with any accoustic seal, tape or just plain dirty, less than 100 square feet of flooring or tile, drywall mud, used glue fillers, molding and trim that are lengths under 3 feet, particle board as well as demolition material.

If you feel overwhelmed or don’t have the time, we’d be happy to consult with you and your crew on an environmentally focused waste management strategy and get you set up. We will also clean you out once you are ready to remove the construction waste from your site. Plus our team hand separates all recyclables as well as any reusable items from actual garbage. We also live load our trucks so we can efficiently dispose materials to the correct locations such as the landfill, recycling centers, as well as any suitable local non-profit organizations.