We have stated that the real big step in building would be to ban demolition and renovate, but if the building has to come down, at least it should be deconstructed. The demolition numbers from the US EPA are shocking; Greenstrides summarizes the extent.
Building demolitions account for 48% of the waste stream, or 65 million tons per year; renovations account for 44%, or 60 million tons per year; and 8%, or 11 million tons per year, is generated at construction sites.
In many states there are no regulations on recycling and landfilling is the most common waste management method. Concrete, asphalt, wood, metal, gypsum wallboard, glass, plastics, and roofing get dumped into holes instead of being reused. Almost all of it has some value; as Jim Kunstler writes in World Made By Hand, mining the dumps might be the best gig in town some day. In the meantime, a big step in building might be to make deconstruction and reuse of building materials more common by increasing dumping fees. ::Greenstrides