to create new jobs in the recycling field and
at businesses that are developing products
manufactured wholly or in part from recycled materials.
“More jobs are being created through recy-
cling than the amount of jobs required to put
materials into a landfill,” says Mears. “And
it’s much better for the environment when
we’re keeping materials active in the world
instead of disposing of them; less use of raw
materials means that there is less coming out
of the earth to begin with.”
The numbers are impressive. According
to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Indus-
tries, Inc., in the United States two-thirds
of domestically produced steel is made from
scrap metal recycling. Recycling 1 ton of steel
conserves 120 pounds of limestone, 2,500
pounds of iron ore, and 1,400 pounds of coal.
It also results in an 86 percent reduction in
air pollution, 40 percent reduction in water
use, and 76 percent reduction in water pollu-
tion. Use of scrap steel as opposed to virgin
ore equates to energy savings of 74 percent.
Non-ferrous scrap, such as copper, aluminum, and brass, is used to make 60 percent of
all alloys produced domestically, and 40 percent of the world’s copper is supplied by scrap.
How It Works
According to Mears, CRS diverts at least 75
percent of incoming construction and demolition debris to beneficial uses. This debris is
delivered to the facility as a commingled load
or contractors have the option to save money
by further segregating loads on the job site.
As CRS’s largest customer, CEI delivers
construction and demolition debris from
numerous sites around the state. Some of the
company’s most recent Alaska demolition
projects include the Central Heat and Power
Plant on JBER-Richardson, the Northern
Lights Hotel in Anchorage, the Loussac Li-
brary stairs in Anchorage, and the Flint Hills
Refinery in North Pole.
“Before we undertake a demolition, we do
a building survey and create a work plan so
that we know what types of materials we’ll be
dealing with,” explains Mears. “You need to
have good information going in so that you
know what you’re getting into.”
For example, on the Northern Lights Hotel
project, asbestos remediation was required
before any demolition could take place.
“From the outside, it doesn’t look like we’re
doing anything for a while because we’re
sampling, testing, and creating work plans
for the removal of hazardous material before
we can get on to the ‘glamorous’ major de-
construction,” laughs Mears. “Tearing things
down is so much more impressive.”
In the case of asbestos, non-regulated
tiles, if handled properly, will not become
airborne, so these can be disposed of at local
waste facilities. Regulated asbestos material,
on the other hand, can only be shipped to
specialized facilities, so it must be properly
packaged and handled.
“We also create a strategy to recover metals,
steel structures, and concrete because they all
have a value and can be sold at market,” says
Mears. “The metals go to the CRS metal yard
where they are sorted and packaged and sent
out of state. The concrete and asphalt stay local
because we crush it down to create recyclable
concrete aggregates and asphalt products.”
CRS also resells items such as I-beams,
rebar, and windows and tiles for industrial
projects. “We’re sort of like a Habitat for
Humanity ReStore but on a more industrial
level,” says Mears, adding that these goods
are brokered directly to clients.
CRS’s main recycling facility holds a shredder and sort line, as well as a crusher and
screens for producing aggregate. Commingled
loads are processed through the shredder and
sort line into components including ferrous
and non-ferrous metals, plastics, wood, and
gypsum. The company also uses a portable
baler to make tire bales that can then be used
as fill or for retaining walls.
“There are a lot of moving parts,” says
Mears. “One of the biggest advantages for our
clients is that we can do it all here because
we run the recycling business in conjunction
with the demolition business, so we are able
to offer better deals.”
While it depends on the year, Mears esti-
mates that CRS is able to keep approximately
50,000 tons of waste a year out of the landfill.
Where It Goes
CRS creates a number of aggregates that can
be used in construction and road projects,
including a recycled concrete aggregate, recycled asphalt pavement, and recycled glass
aggregate. CEI has used the recycled glass
aggregate for construction of a sewer main
along Railroad Avenue, and it has also been
used by AWWU on a number of projects.
“We have used CRS’s glass aggregate as
bedding on four of our projects to date,” says
AWWU Project Manager James Armstrong,
PE, adding that the utility first began working
with the company in 2012. “These include the
Iris Drive sewer project in midtown Anchorage; the Northern Lights water main project,
where we used it as bedding for 4,000 feet of
16-inch pipe; the Anchorage Railroad project;
and the Second Avenue sewer project.”
Multiple pieces of equipment in action at the
Central Recycling Services facility.
Central Environmental, Inc.