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Construction Debris Recycling

Construction, remodeling, deconstruction and demolition (C&D) are activities that can generate a significant amount of waste. At least 16% of the waste landfilled at the Larimer County Landfill is from C&D activities. However, much of the material generated at C&D sites is recyclable or reusable. By reusing or recycling C&D materials, we can work toward meeting the community's Zero Waste Goal and reduce greenhouse gases, as well as save natural resources and money on a project's waste costs.

City Building Code

On January 1, 2012, Fort Collins’ building code was updated. It states, “For new residential and non-residential buildings, a construction waste management plan acceptable to the Building Official that includes recycling of concrete, wood, metals and cardboard, is required at time of application for a building permit. The plan shall be implemented and conspicuously posted on the construction site. Substantive changes to the plan shall be subject to prior approval by the Building Official.”

The code requirement focuses on recycling four common materials. The City of Fort Collins encourages building owners, designers and builders to plan ahead and manage construction waste. Some local projects, such as Poudre School District’s construction of new schools, recycle or reuse 90% of the materials generated by the project.

How Do I Comply with Code Requirements?

Develop a construction waste management plan.
Fill out a Construction Waste Management Plan or Demolition Construction Waste Management Plan, showing who will be collecting the required recyclable materials and where they will be recycled. This plan must be submitted with the building permit application. Information on local hauling companies, salvage and deconstruction businesses and recycling facilities can be found on our Construction & Demolition Debris Resource Sheet.

Post the plan at the job site.
Be sure everyone working on the project, including subcontractors, understands the Construction Waste Management Plan and commits to following through with it.

Implement the plan.
Post-signage to help ensure the designated materials are separated from other construction waste. Monitor receptacles to ensure materials aren’t ending up in the wrong container. Code Compliance and Building Inspectors will be spot checking during site visits.

Provide final documentation.
At the end of the project, fill out the final portions of the Construction Waste Management Plan or Demolition Construction Waste Management Plan and provide documentation of the volumes or weights of recyclables and trash that were generated by your project.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Note: These are suggestions, and are not required by current Fort Collins building code.

Generate less waste to begin with. Plan efficient use of materials during the design and specification process. For instance, use scrap materials from one process for another process on the same job site.

Set aside surplus or off-spec materials for use on other projects, or donate them to architectural materials salvage retailers.

Disassemble a structure instead of demolishing it to salvage materials such as cabinetry, porcelain, appliances, lumber, landscaping elements, windows, doors, etc.

  • On-site recycling: Use waste materials from the project by reprocessing them for other applications on the same site. One example for large projects is to grind waste materials to use as landscape mulch.
  • Off-site recycling: Collect materials on site for recycling elsewhere.


Information on local hauling companies, salvage and deconstruction businesses and recycling facilities can be found on Who Recycles What and on our Construction & Demolition Debris resource sheet.

Green City Building Codes, Guides and Forms  

Construction Materials Recycling Association

U.S. Green Building Council