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Saving landfill space by recycling old building

Deandra Corinthios

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Saving landfill space by recycling old building

CREATED Sep. 27, 2013

ASHWAUBENON, WI --Saving space in our landfills and reducing our carbon footprint. That's Prevea Health's goal as they recycle nearly one hundred percent of their old building on Pilgrim Way in Ashwaubenon.

The project sends 43,000 cubic yards of material to be recycled instead of going to a landfill. And county waste management leaders say they hope recycling instead of demolishing a property will set a trend for the future, keeping northeast Wisconsin "green".

Piece by piece, the debris from the old Prevea building is sorted. Metals in one pile, wood in another. Crews transfer the wood into a grinder, making it easier to transport.

This is the second property Prevea has demolished and chosen to recycle.

"Trying to look at how can we show reverance for the earth as we take this building down," said Prevea's Director of Facilities & Support Services, John Zeller.

Out of all the debris, only about 10 percent will not be able to be recycled. That includes the building's dry wall and insulation. Contractors say  that's about all that will end up at the landfill.

Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago counties share landfills. Winnebago's is now full, and Outagamie's opened last year.

"Outagamie county could last 10 years, could last 15 we don't know for sure, technology changes, other things come along that allow us to pull more material out of the waste stream," said Business Development Manager for Brown County's Port & Resource Recovery, Mark Walter.

Saving 43,000 cubic yards of space, county waste management leaders say it's enough to make an impact and save the finite space of our landfills.

The project leader with Prevea says recycling the building instead of just demolishing it is not more expensive but it is more time consuming.