116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Cedar Rapids projects strive to recycle, salvage materials
Feb. 24, 2012 7:18 am
The majority of demolition materials generated since the massive June 2008 flood in Cedar Rapids have gone straight to the city's skyline.
The closed Landfill Site No. 1 in southwest Cedar Rapids, known as Mount Trashmore, was reopened to accept flood-related debris with special permission from the state. More than 1,000 damaged buildings have been demolished under contracts with the city, and the landfill has grown taller with each one.
With two major environmentally friendly projects under way, the area is getting a sense of what recycling, reuse and salvaging can do in the best case to reduce landfilling.
When the TrueNorth Co. building came down this winter in the 400 block of Fourth Ave. SE to make way for the Cedar Rapids Public Library, only 3.75 percent of it was destined for the landfill.
Building, parking lot, foundation and landscaping - more than 4,300 tons - will be diverted.
When the former Allis-Chalmers complex at 3015 First Ave. SE and 100 30th St. Dr. SE was demolished last fall for Raining Rose Inc.'s new headquarters, 6,540 tons of concrete were diverted for crushing into subbase for the site, 840 tons of steel was recycled and 1,540 ton of concrete was diverted for other recycling.
The net cost of keeping all that material out of the landfill - virtually nothing.
Revenue from the sale of steel and other salvaged metal and avoided landfill tipping fees offset most of the costs associated with landfill diversion on the library site, project architect Bruce Hamous of OPN Architects said.
The costs also were offset by substituting crushed concrete from the demolition for gravel that would have been purchased from quarries.
The recycling programs were driven by green construction standards. Both projects are candidates for green certification through the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.
The library is seeking LEED Platinum, the highest level of LEED certification. The Raining Rose project is seeking a LEED silver designation.
Hamous said the city and its library board wanted to get extra credits for LEED certification through a high level of landfill diversion by going above 90 percent.
“We're hoping we are the project that sets the bar high for other city projects,” Hamous said.
The biggest recycling stream from both projects consisted of masonry blocks, pavement and cement foundation and footings.
Crushing equipment was brought to the Raining Rose site to reduce most of the cement to the size that can be used as fill.
Raining Rose President Chuck Hammond said the demolition contractor, D.W. Zinser of Walford, retained salvage rights for materials on the site.
“For us it was almost a trade,” Hammond said. “There was quite a bit of steel and copper on the place.”
In the library project, those materials were trucked to the Sinclair complex owned by the city for storage until they can be crushed and returned to the site as construction fill this spring.
Efforts to find homes for salvaged materials went deep in the library project, according to Loren Hartelt of Rathje Construction, Marion, the TrueNorth demolition contractor.
Glass, carpet, doors, plumbing fixtures, and rooftop air conditioning units were all salvaged.
Habitat ReStore of the Cedar River Valley salvaged plumbing fixtures, lighting and doors.
“Pretty much anything that was recyclable was recycled,” said Aaron Gale, warehouse and deconstruction manager for Habitat ReStore.
Things didn't go down perfectly in either project.
Some insulation and ceiling tiles that had been moved outside the building temporarily were rained on. The dampening not only made them irrecoverable, but made them heavier at weigh-in at the landfill, reducing the project's weight-based recycling percentage.
Gale said some items from the TrueNorth building like the elevators could not be reused because a salvage contractor removed their wiring.
At the Raining Rose site, demolition workers discovered a previously unknown underground room, Hammond said. It contained a large quantity of asbestos materials, slowing down the project. They were eventually taken to a private landfill in western Illinois.
Exceptions to rule
The TrueNorth site suffered only minor effects from the June 2008 flood and the Allis-Chalmers site was not even near the flood. That's another reason they are exceptions to a general rule that most demolition debris since the flood of 2008 in Cedar Rapids - about 350,997 tons including flood wreckage and building materials - has wound up in Mount Trashmore.
Even more material could have gone to the landfill without some of the city's efforts.
“In general, with the houses a lot of concrete was recycled,” said John Riggs, flood recovery program manager in charge of demolition for the city.
Riggs said demolition contracts gave the contractors the leeway to take the concrete to local quarries for crushing, and many accepted because it was less expensive than landfilling the material.
96.25 percent of potential landfill materials[/naviga:li]
Glass: To City Carton Recycling and then Ripple Glass, Kansas City, Mo., which sorts and supplies material to companies that manufacture insulation and glass bottles.[/naviga:li]
Steel, aluminum and copper: To Marion Iron Co., Marion, which buys metals for sale to companies that reprocess it. Demolition contract retained 22 tons of structural "red iron" to assist in trench excavating for future projects.[/naviga:li]
Carpeting: Partially salvaged, with self-adhering carpet blocks removed and reused.[/naviga:li]
Foam board roof insulation: Salvaged by one of the contractors for future reuse.[/naviga:li]
Cement, brick, block and paving materials: Stored for crushing into small pieces that will be used as site fill in place of limestone gravel.[/naviga:li]
Plumbing: Partially salvaged by Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Cedar Rapids, for resale.[/naviga:li]
Light fixtures: Salvaged by Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Cedar Rapids, for resale[/naviga:li]
Wood and landscaping: Taken to Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency for shredding into biofuels.[/naviga:li]
Doors: Salvaged by Habitat ReStore[/naviga:li]
Source: OPN Architects
Recycled: 4,500 tons[/naviga:li]
Salvaged: 31.04 tons[/naviga:li]
Landfilled: 168.56 tons[/naviga:li]
Recycled: More than 7,380 tons of concrete, steel and other metals.[/naviga:li]
Diverted: 1,540 tons of concrete to Wendling Quarries, for future crushing and recycling[/naviga:li]
Landfill tipping fees: $32.90/ton for regular demolition material*;
$90/ton for demolition material with asbestos
*Lower rate offered for recyclable shingle materials
Source: OPN Architects, Primus Construction, Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency