ASTM Issues Standard Guide for the Development of a Waste Management Plan for Construction, Deconstruction, or Demolition Projects

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March 14, 2018
By Director of Technical Services Walt Rossiter

ASTM InternationalASTM International Technical Committee E60 on Sustainability held its fall meeting this past October. Among its accomplishments was the completion of a new standard, E3073, titled “Guide for Development of a Waste Management Plan for Construction, Deconstruction, or Demolition Projects.” This standard was developed under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E60.01 on Buildings and Construction.


The impetus for development of E3073 was a keen acknowledgment that construction and demolition materials are one of the most significant waste streams in the United States. According to the task group responsible for the standard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates these materials amount to over 500 million tons annually across all types of construction including new construction, renovation, and demolition of buildings and civil-engineering structures. The task group states that as a consequence, efforts through codes or sustainable building programs have been incentivizing or mandating diversion of waste from construction, deconstruction, or demolition projects since the mid-1990s. With environmental needs for such diversion, the task group proposed that a jobsite-specific waste management plan would be an effective tool to increase the disposition of useable materials through reuse, repurposing, manufacturer reclamation, composting, or recycling. It further reasoned that an ASTM standard for development of a project-specific waste management plan could promote best practices in this important environmental arena.

Scope of the Standard

The scope of E3073 directs that the guide:

  • Is intended to facilitate development of waste management plans for construction, deconstruction, or demolition projects, referred to in the standard as construction waste management (CWM) plans. A CWM plan is a document that describes the intended actions to manage discarded materials based on consideration of the type and volume of materials, region, infrastructure available, and life-cycle analysis (when available). It also tracks the materials to be managed.
  • Applies to CWM plans developed for construction, renovation, deconstruction, and demolition of buildings, factories, parking structures, and any other structure, as well as above- and below-ground infrastructure.
  • Includes CWM plan guidance for the wastes generated on site during construction, deconstruction, and demolition projects. Examples of such wastes covered by the standard include, but are not limited to:
    • Structural and finish materials and construction chemicals
    • Construction-product and materials packaging
    • Construction office waste, including paper documents
    • Wastes from site development work, such as excavated soils, rocks, vegetation, and stumps
    • Other ancillary items, such as broken tools, safety materials/personal protective equipment, and food and beverages and their packaging

E3073 is not applicable to wastes generated in the manufacture, preparation, or fabrication of materials before delivery to the job site. Moreover, it does not change or substitute for any federal, state, or local statutory or regulatory provisions or requirements related to the handling, control, containment, transport, or disposition of any particular material.

The CWM Plan

The CWM plan includes performance, submittal, and quality assurance requirements, as well as strategies for implementing the diversion of the waste materials.

Performance requirements in the plan include:

  • A diversion rate that the contractor should meet or exceed
  • Examples of materials that can and should be diverted
  • Examples of diversion activities, such as salvage, repurposing, and manufacturer reclamation (take-back), in which the manufacturer does not then dispose of the materials.
  • Condition requirements for recovered materials that make them conducive to their reuse

Submittal requirements include:

  • Diversion reports for the waste materials anticipated to be generated in the project
  • Diversion reports for other potential material that may be generated

Quality assurance requirements are intended to ensure that the CWM plan is carried out to its fullest. They include:

  • Name and contact information for the person on the job site responsible for developing and implementing the CWM plan
  • Plans for training, meetings, and communication
  • Reporting and record-keeping provisions
  • Troubleshooting instructions and contact information

Strategies for implementing diversion of the discarded materials usually fall within one of two general procedures: namely, comingling of the materials or on-site sorting. In the former case, multiple types of waste materials are combined in a single container. A third party then sorts and quantifies the amount of each material or group of material types, with the goal of sending each stream for reuse, recycling, or other disposition. For on-site sorting, the waste materials are separated according to their classification at the job site.

Impact on RCI Members

As stated in the standard, users are anticipated to be any individuals or entities that are expected to have an interest in reducing construction site waste, including contractors, architects, engineers, building owners or their representatives, consultants, and government agencies. Note that this list includes consultants, which should make the standard of interest to RCI members. For example, future projects may have requirements for a CWM plan to be part of the construction documents.

The task group responsible for E3073 was under the direction of chair Katie Chapman, Sustainability Specialist, of Duro-Last Roofing, Inc., Saginaw, Michigan. I recently asked Katie about the standard’s use.

One question posed was: Will local code jurisdictions have interest in citing the standard in their codes? Katie responded that she has received interest from code jurisdictions that want to cite E3073 in their codes. She explained that having a consensus-based guide for construction waste management is integral to construction, deconstruction, and demolition projects to help manage their waste and environmental impact.

A second question was: Do you consider that RCI quality assurance observers will have their tasks impacted by this standard? That is, will construction documents cite waste management activities that on-site observers would monitor as part of construction processes? In response, Katie indicated that if a construction, deconstruction, or demolition project references the guide for its CWA plan, there will be construction documents to this effect. These could include the plan itself, detailing the material diversion tactics, letters from recycling companies, weight tickets from scrap yards, or certificates of disposition. In brief, for some projects, RROs may have additional responsibilities added to those that they now monitor.

Thanks are extended to Katie Chapman for her gracious assistance provided in discussing the development and use of E3073. RCI members who wish to participate in ASTM E60’s standards development activities or seek other information on the committee should contact staff manager Travis Murdock at E3073 may be obtained at a nominal cost from ASTM at Type the standard’s designation, e.g., E3073, in the search box.