[GRRN] More on Deconstruction

Thu, 22 Apr 1999 21:31:14 EDT

Subj: Re: Fwd:Deconstruction Question
Date: 4/22/99 3:07:51 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: turley@xsite.net (Bill Turley)
Sender: jtrnet@valley.rtpnc.epa.gov
Reply-to: jtrnet@valley.rtpnc.epa.gov
To: jtrnet@valley.rtpnc.epa.gov (Multiple recipients of list)

Thanks for your interest. Matthew Levesque, who runs a reuse store in
Northern California, recently wrote an article that's in the latest issue
of our newsletter where he laments that there is no hydraulic and easy
method for removing nails from wood, such as there is for putting them in
there in the first place. If he could remove them easily, he says he could
sell tons more wood and keep it out of the grinder, where the nails are not
a big problem. Currently, even though he is an urban area with high
unemployment, he has trouble getting people to remove nails by hand, as it
is a thankless job. Your question's timing is good, as I was talking with
Dr. Charles Kibert of Univ. of Florida this morning. His group has become
more invovled in deconstruction, and he agreed that it is a problem. He has
investigated, and is still investigating, some methods from Europe. I think
he is on this listserve, so I hope he weighs in with some thoughts here.
Next would be a certification program for the wood. (For now let's ignore
the whole problem the EPA's proposed lead-based-paint debris rule would do
to this material.) There has been some action on a recertification program
for reclaimed wood, to insure it is sound enough that contractors can feel
safe to use it in new construction/renovation. I'm sure others on this
listserve know more than me about how this program is developing.
On another point, I would be concerned if some materials can ever be
salvaged. For example, I wonder if there ever will be a market for used,
originally low or medium quality, toilets and sinks, such as might come out
of public housing. Who will buy that stuff? Some of them can be crushed and
mixed with concrete to make a roadbase product, but that may take some
persuading of DOTs.
Lastly, I agree with Dave Block, there are instances where deconstruction
does work economically without a government grant. The demolition industry
is full of these types of stories, and some have made tremendous profits
off of finding some beautiful wood that they yanked out of the building.
That's why companies such as Duluth Timber have thrived and have worked
with demolition contractors to market the material. It's the low-end stuff
that is a concern. If you can figure out ways to market that material, and
CWC is a good group that might be able to, then that would be a tremendous
service to the industry.
I hope this helps.
Bill Turley

> A newcomer to this forum, I'd like to address a question to Bill Turley, in
> response to his sensible reflections on deconstruction:
> Bill:
> I appreciate your point - the marketplace already reflects the sensible,
> economic, available deconstruction technologies quite well, as nearly every
> town has somebody in business of salvaging building materials. Given that
> the "wreckers" and "salvage operators" who operate the (very) few businesses
> making a living in this area are usually operating on a shoestring, without
> a "technology development" budget, is this an area in which some research
> into new salvage technologies might pay-off? Some states have
> "market-development" organizations that might be able to fund
> technology-development and transfer projects. Can you envision any research
> that such programs might beneficially undertake? or do you think this would
> be a waste of time?
> I ask this because here, in Seattle/King County, we have benefited from the
> excellent technology-development and transfer work of the Clean Washington
> Center (before they were de-funded by the Washington State Department of
> Trade and Economic Development). As an example of the benefits this group
> provided: Their research into technologies for glass recycling led to the
> establishment of a processing-plant in Seattle that is using recycled glass
> to produce products with precise specifications for technical applications
> such as filtration of gases and liquids and sandblasting. King County, in
> fact, recently purchased 18 tons of filter-sand to charge the sand-based
> water filtration system at a municipal Olympic swimming-pool.
> It has been very productive for us that the Clean Washington Center was able
> to help this technology develop to the point where we are actually able to
> obtain products made from recycled materials that perform well and are
> competitively priced. That experience leads me to ask you if such an
> approach might benefit the "deconstruction" industry.
> Fortunately, by the way, the Clean Washington Center was able to keep its
> stable of engineers together and continues to apply its talents to
> developing recycling technologies under the name "CWC." Our state,
> unfortunately, no longer benefits directly from this work, however.
> Thanks
> eric
> Eric Nelson (206) 296-4324 and Karen Hamilton (206) 296-4317
> Environmental Purchasing Program
> King County Procurement Services
> 500 - 4th Ave, Room 620
> Seattle, WA 98104
> > Environmental Purchasing web-site:
> > http://www.metrokc.gov/procure/green
> > >>