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Basic Information

EPA estimates that 136 million tons of building-related C&D materials was generated in the United States in 1996.

The composition of C&D materials varies significantly, depending on the type of project from which it is being generated. For example, materials from older buildings is likely to contain plaster and lead piping, while new construction materials may contain significant amounts of drywall, laminates, and plastics. For building materials, EPA estimates the overall percentage of debris in C&D materials falls within the following ranges*:

Concrete and mixed rubble 40-50%
Wood 20-30%
Drywall 5-15%
Asphalt roofing 1-10%
Metals 1-5%
Bricks 1-5%
Plastics 1-5%

*Analyzing What's Recyclable in C&D Debris (PDF) (4 pp, 105K, About PDF)
Ken Sandler, author. Originally published in BioCycle, November 2003, Vol. 44, Iss. 11; p. 51.

See EPA's 2009 study on building-related C&D materials for a detailed characterization of these materials:

Estimating 2003 Building-Related Construction and Demolition Materials Amounts (PDF) (60 pp, 722K, About PDF)
EPA530-R-09-002; March 2009
Provides a summary of EPA's latest data on C&D debris.

Significant additional quantities of C&D materials are generated from the construction of roads and bridges, from land clearing at construction sites, and at military installations.

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