Building With the Future in Mind Since 1955

Shawn demolishing chimney 2012It’s no surprise how much debris comes off of a typical construction site. What is a surprise is just how much of it need not end up in a landfill!

If waste isn’t taken to a landfill, then where to?  Well, if someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure, the key is to locate this other someone, and we’re the region’s expert in locating this other someone.

Listen to Rick’s KMRE radio program on this topic of trash right HERE.  (And, if you like what you hear, there’s another of his radio programs about the more general topic of  ‘reduce’ reuse and recycle’ right HERE.)

#6 Street sign cropped

The sandwich board at our curb cut on Northwest Avenue inviting treasure hunters to snag the items we’ve placed in our ‘Absolutely Free’ zone.

For years we’ve been exploring, studying and then creating landfill options.  And this work has led to state awards, most notably the 2001 Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Business Practices, and the Washington State Department of Ecology Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling Award for their small business category (less than 100 employees) for the year 2000-2001.  And we’ve been instrumental in the stellar work of the RE Store’s award winning efforts to resell used building materials.  Rick was on the board of their parent organization, RE Sources, for 18 years, and as of this writing (9-30-14) he’s back on Board for yet another term!

Our debris management has evolved tremendously since Rick purchased A-1 Builders in 1976.  For the better part of two decades our backyard at 3310 Northwest Avenue looked like a debris sorting facility, with dumpster after dumpster after dumpster… separating firewood from metal from cardboard from reusable lumber from plastics…

These efforts, forever morphing over time, helped pave the way for other businesses to emerge so that now our efforts are far simpler, less expensive and even more effective.  Sure, we still place potential treasures in our ‘Absolutely Free’ area here on Northwest Avenue… even broken up concrete will be carted away from here.  And, additionally, we still donate reusable items to the RE Store.

CDL Decal - larger 2!But the majority of our debris goes into co-mingled containers  dealt with by the good people at Sanitary Service Company (SSC).  ‘Co-mingled’  means that only specific materials can be thrown into the container, but they all go in together, later to be sorted out along a conveyor belt manned by a team of material sorters.

As of this writing (9-30-14) these co-mingled containers accept:

Plywood, OSB, Lumber, Particle Board
(No Painted Wood, Treated Wood or Cement Board Siding)

(No Painted Sheetrock or Drywall Mud Boxes)

(No Metal or Plastic Parts)


Bags, Wrap, Sheeting, Tarps, Twine, (clean) Buckets Pipe (PVC #3, HDPE #2, ABS #7)

Steel, Copper, Brass, Tin, Aluminum, Wiring/Cable Small (empty) Propane Tanks (remove valve) Non-Hazardous (empty) Aerosol Cans


A glimpse into a co-mingled debris box.

A glimpse into a co-mingled debris box.

Here’s what is not allowed to be placed into their co-mingled loads, and we’re then driven to then find the highest and best use for these items:

Household Garbage
Styrofoam® or Foam Insulation Board
Carpet/Carpet Pad
Appliances/White Goods
Fluorescent or Other Lighting
Paints, Oils or other Hazardous Products

These co-mingled loads of debris are then hauled to Recycling and Disposal Services (RDS) at 4916 Labounty Dr, Ferndale, WA 98248 where the actual sorting takes place.

Here's a look at the actual RDS conveyor belt where the sorting takes place.

Here’s a look at the actual RDS conveyor belt where the sorting takes place.

If you’d like to learn more about SSC’s jobsite services, go HERE.  Or HERE to better understand their construction/demolition recycling.

Briefly, from RDS’ website…

Recycling & Disposal Services, Inc. (RDS) is a Ferndale recycling, garbage and waste disposal center, serving Bellingham and the greater Whatcom County, Washington area since 1996.

We are more than a “trash or garbage dump” but rather a business that finds the right home for discarded waste.

We accept both commercial and residential garbage and recycled goods; but not hazardous waste.

We’re so proud to know that the debris our projects generate is handled responsibly.  It saves our clients dough, it minimizes the ecological footprint of what we do, it gives building materials another lifetime of service, it turns trash into others’ treasures, and minimizes the need to extract further resources from our finite, hurting planet. A win all around…


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