In 2019 the construction and demolition (C&D) sector contributed to 27 million tonnes of waste, accounting for 44% of Australia’s total trash. Currently, 75% of C&D waste is recycled, and the NSW government is pushing to reach 80% by the end of 2021.

With the increasing awareness and push for recycling, the construction industry is switching to green approaches when disposing of their waste on construction sites.

The move to recycling waste offers you the chance to save money and be a part of the movement to create more sustainable construction methods.

What Can You Recycle On A Construction Site?

What Should You Do With Construction Waste?

There are three ways that you can manage waste generated on a construction project, these are:

  • Recycle: turning old waste materials into raw supplies for new use.
  • Reuse: lengthening the life of material through continued use.
  • Disposal: collecting and categorising waste which is then transported to appropriate facilities.

The best environmentally friendly practice is to reuse whatever rubbish you can and recycle the rest, depending on the material.

Using separate skip bins for each type of debris is an effective way to correctly recycle all the materials that you can find on a construction site.

Our construction removal services ensures that all rubbish is transported to the appropriate facilities that either treat, dispose or recycle the waste.

What Materials Can You Recycle?

Roof Materials

Asphalt or shingles can be crushed and repurposed into gravel used for paths, roads, driveways, and parking lots. You can save a lot of money from recycling as roofing materials are heavy and incur a high disposal cost.

Electrical Wiring

Electrical wiring is a type of E-waste and you can recycle it. There are plenty of buy back services that can offer you money for your cabling, whether faulty or functioning.

Scrap Metal

You can collect scrap metal waste (e.g. copper) on your construction site and sell them on to buyers who can repurpose the materials for other uses. Not only do you gain money from recycling scrap metal, but you are also helping other sectors in the industry!

Concrete And Bricks

Recycling heavier materials like concrete rubble and bricks can save you a lot of money, as they often come with higher costs for disposal. Instead, companies can transport your waste to facilities that crush the recyclable materials and repack it as mixed masonry.

Your efficient waste management of bricks and concrete helps create valuable space in a landfill.

Wood And Lumber

Contractors buy your wood or lumber waste and re-mill it into particleboard. You can use particleboard for panelling, floors, windows and door frames.

With increasing prices of wood and lumber you’re not only saving money, but also the trees!

Steel And Metal

If you work on high-rise apartment construction projects, you’re likely to find building materials such as steel girders, trusses and pilings. All these recycled materials can maintain the same level of strength and durability.

Glass And Windows

Glass has a negative environmental impact as it takes approximately one million years to break down in a landfill. When recycling glass and windows, you should strip the insulating chemicals like aluminium, vinyl and lamination. Or, if your glass is still intact, consider cutting it down and reusing it for other purposes.

Green Waste

Green waste includes grass or yard clippings, branches, wood chips, bark, weeds and branches. You can use a separate skip bin for green waste and reuse the materials for mulch, which is great for reducing weed growth. Alternatively, you can collect the green waste and use it for compost.

Soil And Sand

You can find small particle materials like soil or sand on almost all building sites, luckily they are easy to reuse. For example, you can use the soil to plant new vegetation and then top it with a layer of sand to promote drainage.

Plumbing Fixtures

If you find any old brass fixtures on your job site, you can take them to a scrap metal recycler. Brass metals are highly resistant to calcification and corrosion, making recycling an easy alternative to the tip. However, do not reuse any fixtures that were installed before 1980 as they can contain lead solder, which can poison drinking water.


Small parts of drywall can be a common type of building waste on your site. However, if kept away from moisture, these parts of drywall can be reusable materials. Alternatively, you can recycle the smaller parts of drywall to patch holes in walls.

What Demolition Waste Should You Dispose Of?


When you disturb construction waste like asbestos by cutting or drilling, it can release tiny toxic fibres into the air. If you find asbestos on your site, you should contact your local government authority to organise a specialist for safe disposal.

Lead Paint

Lead paint is a hazardous waste discontinued in consumer products. It is toxic for you and the environment. You should contact a hazardous waste company to appropriately dispose of the lead paint and guarantee the safety of your well being.

Treated Timber

You cannot recycle timber that has been treated with chemicals to protect it from weathering. If mismanaged in their disposal, these chemicals can be toxic to people and the environment. Treated timber is commonly found in utility poles, decks and posts.

Mercury Products

The most common types of mercury found on sites are lamps, thermostats, fluorescent lights and batteries.  Mercury that is incorrectly disposed of can end up on a landfill. Consequently, the chemical can pollute the groundwater and poison the earth. If you find mercury, you should contact a hazardous waste company to dispose of it correctly.

Hazardous Wastes

Other materials that are hazardous include chemicals or liquids, paint, oil, tyres as well as gas tanks and bottles. For proper disposal, you should always contact a specialist for advice on the safe removal of these wastes.

Where Can I Recycle Construction And Demolition Waste?

The best way to recycle on construction site is to use sub contractors to handle your construction and demolition materials, here is a useful tool to help find services near you. Alternatively, construction companies may offer their own recycling services as part of their contract.

1300RUBBISH offers a range of waste management services across Australia and ensure that your construction materials or debris are effectively recycled.

For more information on our services or how to recycle and reuse on your site, contact us at 1300 78 22 47.