Can You Recycle Construction Materials?

The cost of softwood lumber spiked by more than 200% between 2020 and 2021, and copper base scraps increased in cost by 63%, prompting some contractors to look at whether they could recycle construction materials. After all, could recycling construction materials from the demolition process to help offset costs? There was also increased interest in diverting construction waste from landfills to help protect the environment. So, can you recycle construction materials, and if so, what can be recycled?

Recycling Construction Materials Can Save Money

First up, recycling construction materials can help offset costs in some cases. This is relevant for demolition and renovation projects where wood, metals, and other materials need to be hauled away but still have resale value. Haulers and scrap materials dealers will usually offer to remove materials for free – which saves on waste disposal costs – or they may offer payment based on the weight of the materials. Here are the materials that are most frequently recycled. 


Metal is one of the most valuable and commonly recycled materials because it is so easy to use and re-use. Demolition and renovation sites generate a fair amount of scrap metal, which can be used to create roofing material and metal for other structural uses. Scrap metal companies are common in all parts of the country, and many will provide payment for metals.


Concrete can be reused and upcycled to create crushed stone, a common component in various landscaping and building projects. It can also be crushed into fine grain or coarse stone materials and can be sold in bulk to contractors, builders and developers. Ask your waste hauler about concrete recycling or contact a concrete recycling company to haul it away. Concrete can be expensive to dispose of, so even getting it hauled away for free can save money.

Asphalt Pavement

Asphalt pavement is unique because it can be recycled back into asphalt. This crushing and recycling process can be completed at a hot-mix asphalt plant or can be done onsite where the asphalt will be installed. Asphalt shingles can also be ground up and recycled into hot-mix asphalt, so don’t throw those shingles in with regular waste. Your hauler should be able to put you in touch with an asphalt recycling company or contact a hot-mix asphalt company for recycling guidelines.


Lumber is one of the most common construction materials, and it can be reused in a multitude of ways. Reclaimed lumber is used to make everything from furniture to cabinets to flooring. Or it can be chipped or ground and used to create mulch and engineered board. Be aware not all lumber is safe to re-use. Lumber that has been painted with lead-based paint or treated with chemicals may need to be managed and treated according to local hazardous waste regulations. 


Gypsum is a common material found in drywall and cement, and it can be removed from drywall and recycled to be included in other construction materials. It may be difficult to find drywall recycling companies in some areas, but it’s worth the effort. Drywall is one of the most common building materials thrown in landfills, so recycling drywall can go a long way toward diversion and sustainability efforts.

When working on demolition and renovation projects, we can help you find the right recycling services in your area. Give us a call, and while you’ve got us on the line, we can bundle all your other site services, including portable toilets, fencing, storage containers, and more, with just one phone call.