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A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

Sunday, February 17, 2019

I saw what I thought was an interesting article in the Recycling Today newsletter. It concerned the demolition of a large facility and how much they were able to recycle.

The article reminded me of when the Green Guy Recycling services were contracted and able to recycle most of a somewhat similar large plant, just off Hunter Road, near where the bus barn is now, a few years ago.

The article explained how a United Kingdom company achieved more than a 90 percent recycling rate in the demolition of a 54-acre industrial campus, that formerly housed a synthetic rubber facility. The plant had stopped operating in 2014.

The UK effort on this project included the removal and disposal of asbestos as well as the removal of process and storage equipment, the demolition of all buildings and structural steel, the removal of wiring, piping and all aboveground concrete structures and the cleaning, removal and disposal of all tanks and vessels on the site.

To do this work, the area was split into several sections. This provided them the opportunity to minimize the length of time for the project. Although there was a considerable amount of rubber and asbestos to be removed from the site, one of the primary goals was to recycle at least 90 percent of the total material at the site.

To accomplish this, over 16,500 tons of metal was recycled plus over 13,000 cubic yards of concrete was crushed and used as backfill at the site. Crushing the concrete on site had environmental, logistical and financial benefits.

Crushing the concrete on site reduced pollution by minimizing truck traffic to and from the site; it kept concrete debris out of landfill; and provided a readymade base material for future development. One can also see the logistical and financial benefits of it.

To ensure the impact on the environment was carefully considered, controlled and kept to an absolute minimum, an Environmental Management Plan was made.

This plan included:

  • Erecting full height access/protection scaffolding clad with netting on specific buildings;
  • Carrying out a search for any hazardous substances or products that could contaminate adjacent waterways and removing them to a safe containment area;
  • Deconstruction of buildings in sequence, with the goal of providing a safe, controlled system of work;
  • Establishing spill kits, including socks and booms;
  • Implementing a monitoring system to inspect the flow of water;
  • Ensuring dust suppression waters were contained within the boundaries of the site;
  • Remaining below a permitted 54-decibel noise limit; and
  • Monitoring vibration to minimize disruption to the surrounding area.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all demolition sites had such a plan and were able to achieve a 90 percent recycling rate?

Till next week, do have an enjoyable and safe one,


Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432 or e-mail

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666