Earlier this month, Rubicon® announced the launch of our company’s first Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report. If you have yet to download the report I encourage you to do so now to read more about what Rubicon is doing to transform the entire category of waste and recycling.

It’s impossible to have a serious discussion about a circular future without addressing the built environment—our cities, roadways, buildings, walkways, parks, and other fixed infrastructure.

These are major sources of waste—in the United States alone, the EPA estimates that approximately 530 million tons of construction and demolition waste is generated annually. That’s more than all municipal waste generated by all U.S. cities combined. Of this, it is estimated that between 30-70% is sent to landfills.

We can’t expect this pace of growth—and waste creation—to let up. By 2060, current projections estimate that globally society will build the equivalent of the City of Paris each week. The only way to reconcile growth and environmental health is through widespread adoption of circular practices.

At Rubicon, we look forward to solving this problem. It is our hope that the increased focus on green building standards will result in greater attention to sustainable management of construction materials. But more needs to be done.

In the absence of uniform regulations or other efforts, we’re moving forward.

In 2019, Rubicon worked with a global construction firm on an audacious goal: diverting at least 90% of waste generated from a large-scale project. We looked at every opportunity to keep waste out of landfills – even food waste from the construction crews themselves, setting up separate bins and other composting infrastructure. At the conclusion, the project achieved a 97% diversion rate –far surpassing the baseline for industry recognition and certification.

Finding Solutions for Hard-to-Recycle Materials

Of course, one of the toughest challenges in achieving zero waste is finding solutions for hard-to-recycle materials. This is especially true when materials are in small quantities across a large number of geographically diverse locations. There are logistical challenges, certificates of destruction to obtain, and intellectual property concerns when handling client material.

Our work with DAVACO, a leader in high-volume remodels for retail, hospitality, and healthcare, shows it’s possible to deliver an end-to-end sustainability solution that finds new life for discarded materials.

As part of this project, we helped DAVACO on a metal recycling project for a multinational chain of coffeehouses. DAVACO field reps collected fixtures from more than 6,700 stores. Then, working with third-party scrap metal partner Becker Iron & Metal, Rubicon directed DAVACO’s logistics fleet to transport the fixtures to more than 250 recycling locations – unloading the material and getting certificates of destruction for each load.

As a result of this project, we were able to keep 161 tons of metal – the equivalent of nearly 18,000 bicycles – out of landfills and divert the material into recycling streams. Equally as impactful, rebates returned from the fixtures were donated to nonprofit organizations that support veterans, including The Mission Continues, USO, Team RWB, and Blue Star Families.

To learn more about Rubicon’s work transforming the entire category of waste and recycling, be sure to download our inaugural Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report.

If you have any questions, or you’re interested in speaking with me about our C&D recycling solutions here at Rubicon, please reach out to me directly at chris.batterson@rubicon.com or (678) 906 2667.

Chris Batterson is a Key Account Manager for Construction & Project Solutions at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.