New online tool helps contractors reduce project waste

With an increased focus on sustainability, some municipalities, states and the federal government are increasing regulations in an attempt to limit the amount of waste that occurs on demolition and construction sites.

The city of Chicago recently passed a law that requires any construction project within the city to recycle at least 50 percent of the project materials.

The state of Wisconsin has a similar requirement for its state funded construction and demolition projects.
Milwaukee-based WasteCap Resource Solutions, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, has created WasteCap TRACE, an online documentation tool that helps contractors document their reuse and recycle use from project sites.
The tool could help construction firms comply with the growing array of government mandates regulating construction waste. It could also be used for construction firms that want to demonstrate there recycling activities in order to get “green building” LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
“In the past, there was a lot of tracking and entering in spreadsheets and lots of information would get passed on between people,” said Jenna Kunde, executive director of WatCap. “WasteCap TRACE allows multiple individuals to enter information on the same site, in the same place for the same project, which eliminates multiple re-entering.”
The city of Chicago employs individuals who re-enter data from multiple construction projects within the city into one system for the city, Kunde said.
“Imagine the time that would be saved if every project was initially entered into the same system,” she said.
With WasteCap TRACE, municipalities, contractors, haulers, and waste management people can all enter information into the system at their own convenience. This means they can enter it from their mobile devices on site, or login in on their office computer and enter the data there, Kunde said.
According to Kunde, the platform gives an overall picture of the recycling efforts on the project, and can also generate reports based off the data entered.
“One of the best aspects is the aggregation capabilities,” Kunde said. “It can give people a glimpse of what an overall recycling rate is over specific number of projects or over a whole state, that type of information can be quite useful.”
The WasteCap TRACE interface, which stands for transform resources and conserve energy, was developed in conjunction with Brookfield-based Centare Group.
“We wanted to make the system easy to use for anybody at anytime,” John Lottes, project manager said. “Recycling and reuse are going to become even more hot topic issues in 2010.”
Major components that can be recycled from most construction sites include cardboard, concrete, metal, wood, unpainted drywall, bottles, cans, office paper and some shingles, said Jim Birmingham, strategic development manager for the company. Reuse of existing materials in a new project can also count towards the recycling percentage, Birmingham said.
“WasteCap TRACE has the ability to calculate and track a projects recycling status over time,” Birmingham said. “This is particularly useful with gaining the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification. Projects get two points for recycling 75 percent of the project materials and one point for recycling 50 percent.”
Contractors typically view those as easy earn points, since they are usually tracking that type of information anyways, Birmingham said.
“The interface can automatically generate the reports needed for submission to the USGBC,” Lottes said.
WasteCap Resources is currently working with state and local governments to showcase the capabilities the interface has. Kunde is also talking with federal government organizations, she said.
WasteCap TRACE was launched in early January, and made its debut on ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover Edition at the end of the month.
“Our first external project using the system, was a project done in Buffalo, N.Y. for the show Extreme Home Makeover,” Birmingham said. “I went out there and helped them set up the system, overall it was a huge success.”
WasteCap TRACE is available to anyone at Contractors can purchase the system on a per project, per square foot basis and the cost will vary depending on whether the company is a WasteCap member, Lottes said. The company will also be hosting a free webinar to showcase the usability features of the product on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
“It’s extremely user friendly, and we hope, once they see how easy it is, it will encourage them to recycle and re-use more of the materials in their projects,” Lottes said.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display