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In Time for America Recycles Day, Western Mass. Group Receives EPA Grant for Construction Debris Reuse

Release Date: 11/12/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1010

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 12, 2009) – The Center for Ecological Technology (CET) of Pittsfield, Mass. has received $17,000 from EPA’s Resource Conservation Challenge to demonstrate the reuse of construction and demolition debris.

CET proposes to create an entrance vestibule and classroom for its expanded “ReStore Home Improvement Center” in Springfield, Mass. that will incorporate reused materials and educational displays about reuse. These “living displays” of reuse will be visited by 20,000 to 30,000 people annually who are working on home improvement projects and can incorporate reuse into their projects.

The reuse of construction and demolition (C&D) debris consists of waste that is generated during new construction, renovation, and demolition of buildings, roads, and bridges. C&D debris often contains bulky, heavy materials including:

- Concrete, wood, and asphalt (from roads and roofing shingles);
- Gypsum (the main component of drywall);
- Metals, bricks, glass, and plastics;
- Salvaged building components, such as doors, windows, and plumbing fixtures.

Recently the report “Construction and Demolition Waste Management in the Northeast in 2006” was published by the Northeast Waste Management Officials Association (NEWMOA) under a cooperative agreement with EPA. According to this report, the total C&D waste generation in the Northeast (the six New England States, New York and New Jersey) in 2006 was approximately 12,065,582 tons much of which can be reused or recycled.

“Reducing construction and demolition debris helps to conserve landfill space and reduces environmental impacts including greenhouse gas emissions that result from producing new materials. Builders can also see reduced building expenses by wiser management of these resources,” said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

In 2008 shoppers at the ReStore saved $800,000 buying reclaimed building materials like windows, doors, tubs, sinks, lighting fixtures and more. Hundreds of tons of materials were kept out of regional landfills and given new life instead. The ReStore provides deconstruction services to carefully dismantle homes to maximize reuse and minimize disposal. The ReStore also provides a free pickup service for donations from homeowners and businesses.

“We’re grateful for this support to help us demonstrate the reuse of building materials and inspire and educate our customers. We’ll be able to show how deconstructing homes and reusing the materials is good for our community, economy, and environment,” said John Majercak, ReStore Director.

The CET project was one of two in New England to be awarded a grant this year from the Resource Recovery Challenge. Resource Conservation Challenge grants have resulted in over 27,000 tons a year of waste recycled in New England. The bulk of this waste comes from more than 300 supermarkets in Massachusetts that have begun composting their food waste. EPA has invested over $500,000 in projects in New England aimed at reducing waste and increasing waste reuse and recycling in New England through the Resource Conservation Challenge.

The Resource Conservation Challenge works to reduce waste, reuse and recycle more products, buy more recycled and recyclable produces and reduce toxic chemicals in waste. It works with states, industry and others to find ways to accomplish these goals.

America Recycles Day is November 15. America Recycles Day is dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products. Celebrating its 12th year, it has grown to include millions of Americans pledging to increase their recycling habits at home and work and to buy products made with recycled materials. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products. This annual focus on recycling helps millions of people become better informed about the importance of daily recycling and buying recycled products.

More information:

- EPA Success story on construction and demolition debris (
- EPA Resource Conservation Challenge (
- Construction and Demolition Waste Management in the Northeast in 2006 (PDF) (65 pp., 536 KB) (
- America Recycles Day (

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Note: 11/16/09 - PR amended to add link to EPA success story on construction and demolition debris pdf file