Honolulu Gets (Extremely) Serious About Recycling Construction Materials

There's a bill working its way through the Honolulu city council that would require builders to reuse or recycle a full 60 percent of construction and demolition waste. That includes "concrete, rock, brick, wood, mansonry, roofing, plaster, steel, and other metals, such as copper." There's no word on what the penalty would be for violating the law.

To put that in perspective: "C&D waste," as it is called, accounts for 25 to 30 percent of solid waste in the United States, and only 20 to 30 percent of it is recycled or reused. And, of course, the more you reuse the less new materials you have to use (and the less new materials you have to produce) which saves more. This would really raise the bar.

Some contractors are complaining (costs will rise! gypsum board is hard to recycle!) but it looks like Honolulu actually has to do this to keep its landfills from literally hitting capacity.