Construction as an industry is known for making something out of nothing. That process usually involves a lot of materials and waste, but that does not have to be the story for your next renovation project. Using a firm that takes the time to thoughtfully plan out changes to your home that are smart, efficient, and sustainable is possible.

While we often see piles of wood or sheet rock in front of a job site, the EPA classifies construction waste such as:

  • Concrete
  • Wood (from buildings)
  • Asphalt (from roads and roofing shingles)
  • Gypsum (the main component of drywall)
  • Metals
  • Bricks
  • Glass
  • Plastics
  • Salvaged building components (doors, windows, and plumbing fixtures)
  • Trees, stumps, earth, and rock from clearing sites

Many of these materials could be reused on the original project, or a future project, or be disposed of properly for recycling. Here are some simple ways to reduce waste and reuse materials during your next project whether you are a client or a fellow contractor.

Use the Existing Structure

When planning a project, construction companies often feel like the best way is to start from scratch and tear the original structure down. “I almost always can make a good financial case for why they can get more of their dream for less than the cost to build from scratch,” says Stephan Sardone of Sardone | McLain.

Clients often worry that moving walls or raising ceilings will be more costly than building something brand new, but they should instead look for changes that will make an impact. “You don’t have to raise all the ceilings in the house. The most dramatic impact needed is in the living room, rather than incurring the cost of raising every ceiling in the house.” Additionally, reusing cabinets and wood flooring in a renovation project is a simple way to recycle and save costs.

Go Green Every Day

Incorporating sustainable practices into every project is the key to making lasting change. Managing this aspect of a project should be built into a project so someone can take responsibility and ensure that sustainable choices are made on a job site. “This is the kind of forward-thinking our industry needs to take.” Says Sardone.

This key project manager could save printing costs by converting all usual binders and paperwork to digital templates easily accessed and updated on tablets. Additionally, this role could coordinate recycling bins on job sites and contact charities, metal scrappers, and specialty recyclers to come to sites on key dates to ensure that waste is recycled or donated to proper groups.


Everyone has the opportunity to make greener choices with each project, big or small. Please share your ideas for making construction a more sustainable industry on our social media.


At Sardone | McLain we are working towards a more sustainable construction industry. Follow us here on our website or sign up for our newsletter to read more from our blog!