Headwaters Construction Donates $9400 to Teton Valley Schools
Headwaters Construction, currently finishing up our local school projects, was recently awarded a reimbursement of $9400 through an innovative grant program administered by Teton Valley Community Recycling (TVCR). TVCR’s Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Sorting program was designed to encourage local contractors to sort C&D waste for reuse and recycling and, in the long run, save them money and our Transfer Station the burden of hauling those materials to the landfill. TVCR was delighted to hear recently from Headwaters foreman, Bryer Hastings, that the company intends to donate all $9400 of their award money directly to the school district to be used where most needed. We laud their generosity! This extra money can be put to good use to improve our children’s education.
In November 2018, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) awarded Teton Valley Community Recycling a $25,000 Sustainable Materials Source Reduction grant that entirely funded the above-mentioned program. Some of the monies were used to create videos, signs, and educational articles intended to raise awareness of the cost savings, financial and environmental, of managing C&D waste locally rather than sending it unsorted to the landfill. The bulk of the grant funds were awarded directly to eleven local contractors in the form of refunds ranging from $150-$9400 based on their waste sorting efforts.
While Headwaters was a late adopter of waste sorting on many of their projects, they have been able to realize a total savings of more than $21,000 in 2019 by sorting and diverting 110 tons of construction waste from the landfill. Sorted waste costs $15/ton to deliver to the County Transfer Station where it can go in the “wood pile” for reuse or composting, the “metal pile” for reuse or recycling, or the “C&D pit” where inert construction waste can be stored without trucking it 90 miles to the Circular Butte landfill. Unsorted construction waste incurs the much higher $210/ton price tag – more than 10 times the cost! It makes a big difference if materials on job sites are properly sorted and kept free of contamination – even one bag of household trash thrown into a sorted dumpster results in the whole load being sent to the landfill because Idaho DEQ has strict regulations on the types of materials allowed in a municipal C&D pit.
The school projects accounted for more than 75 tons of Headwaters’ sorted waste. Project managers experienced plenty of challenges keeping waste sorted on these large job sites with many different subcontractors working on the schools and strict schedules to maintain. Unfortunately, despite clear bilingual signage as to what material goes in which dumpster, with so many different workers on site, contamination still needed to be picked out by hand daily, and many loads were too contaminated to qualify for the lower tipping fee.
Several of our local contractors have long been aware of the significant savings available through diligent waste sorting. Some have created their own signs, dumpster or waste pile systems, and trained their employees and subcontractors to sort. Once effective systems are in place, these builders pay mere hundreds of dollars to dump their waste versus the thousands they would have spent had they not separated the wood, drywall, metal, and other materials. Our local waste hauler, RAD Curbside, actively works with local contractors to find waste hauling solutions that divert the maximum amount of material from the landfill and are the most cost effective. RAD offers Spanish/English dumpster signs for various sorted materials. They also have designed split dumpsters that allow collection of multiple sorted materials on job sites with limited space.
Ready for Reuse! Construction waste materials are available for salvage at the Transfer Station every Friday by purchasing a $10 salvage permit and signing a waiver. Many local residents have built entire sheds, and treehouses complete with furniture, from materials they have salvaged from the wood and metal piles. Reuse is a great option for excess construction materials that don’t need to be trucked out of our county – and increase our landfill liability.
We commend Headwaters Construction for their generosity in donating the $9400 back to the community and, more importantly, to our children. Thank you! And thanks to everyone who has adopted waste sorting as a regular habit.