Construction Waste in the

San Juan Islands

Construction materials are a huge portion of the waste stream—on Orcas Island, the San Juan Islands, and the Country as a whole. It is a huge portion of the total waste stream—in fact according to the EPA, construction and demolition (C&D) waste accounted for “600 million tons of C&D debris were generated in the United States in 2018, which is more than twice the amount of generated MSW” (mixed solid waste, or garbage from homes).

The good news is that there is a growing movement around the country–and particularly in Washington State–to do a better job of recycling construction debris.

On Orcas we have a constant flow of C&D material, mostly from home building and remodeling. While a significant amount of it comes to ORS/The Exchange, the vast majority is collected on job sites in large steel containers by San Juan Sanitation. SJS hauls most of the material to a sorting and recycling facility owned by Lautenbach Industries in Burlington WA. Lautenbach does a great job of separating and recycling building materials.

The Exchange is always willing to look at construction materials and will take as much useful stuff as space allows. For a list of what we do and do not take, click here.

If you are starting a building project and expect to have large volumes of material you might want to speak with San Juan Sanitation about getting a waste container on your work site. You can learn more about that here.

For more on Lautenbach’s recycling facility click here.