Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Contra Costa Waste Services MDRR Mixed C&D Line Achieves RCI Certification

Posted on May 23, 2024

Congratulations to Contra Costa Waste Services for certifying their Mount Diablo Resource Recovery Mixed C&D Line.  It was a pleasure working with their team to complete their Certification.  From their Press Release:

Pittsburg, California, May 7, 2024 –  The Contra Costa Waste Services Material Recovery Facility’s Construction and Demolition (C&D) line has received certification from the Recycling Certification Institute (RCI). Contra Costa Waste Services is responsible for accepting, sorting, and diverting C&D debris. The RCI certification was granted following a comprehensive assessment conducted by an external third-party auditor of the facility’s procedures and guidelines. Additionally, it confirms the accuracy of the facility’s recovery and recycling documentation.

The Pittsburg facility is among sixteen C&D processing facilities in California that have achieved RCI certification.

“We are very pleased to have achieved this certification,” said Gary Lazdowski, the Chief Operating Officer of Contra Costa Waste Services. This certification is essential for the contractors responsible for transporting construction and demolition waste to the facility, as well as for environmental conservation efforts. It demonstrates our commitment to maximizing waste recovery. We are excited to be a Trusted + Proven + Essential partner in Contra Costa County.”

Additionally, when a contractor is involved in a project aimed at obtaining LEED greenbuilding certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), they can contribute to earning credits for the certification by responsibly disposing of C&D waste at a facility that is third-party certified.

The C&D Material Recovery Facility (MRF) operation is located at 1300 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg, CA. The MRF is currently owned and operated by Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery. Nothing Wasted Consulting Group performed the evaluation for RCI. The Nothing Wasted evaluation, and additional information on RCI and the Contra Costa Waste Services facility’s performance, can be found on RCI’s website.

About Mt Diablo Resource Recovery:  Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery serves our customers, communities, and environment responsibly by optimizing the use of discarded materials. Today, Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery serves over 250,000 residents and thousands of businesses throughout Contra Costa, Napa, and Solano Counties. Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery combines excellence in customer service with competitive rates, operating recycling and recovery programs designed to increase sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Mt. Diablo Recycling, in Pittsburg, California, contains the area’s largest state-of-the-art recycling processing center to keep all recyclable items out of the landfill so as much material as possible can be recycled and reused. Our company continues to grow and change to prepare our communities for the future. Consistent with our business values, we invest in programs and technology that maximize diversion and maintain customer convenience and service. Mt. Diablo Recycling is being transformed into the Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery Park (MDRRP). This facility will expand our recovery efforts, increasing the diversion of material from going to the landfill.

ReSource Waste Services of Lewiston Achieves RCI Certification

Posted on February 22, 2024

Benefits Customers Seeking Certification from U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Program

The ReSource Waste Services of Lewiston facility that recycles construction and demolition waste (C&D) has been certified by the Recycling Certification Institute (RCI). The RCI certification was based on a rigorous evaluation performed by an independent third party of the facility’s processes and protocols and it also verified the integrity of the facility’s recovery/recycling reports.

The Lewiston facility is the only C&D processing facility in Maine to achieve RCI certification and is one of only two facilities in New England to achieve this certification. The other facility is ReSource Waste Services’ facility in Roxbury, Massachusetts, which achieved RCI certification in 2018.

“We are very pleased to have achieved this certification for the Lewiston facility,” said Jack Canty, the President and Chief Operating Officer of ReSource Waste Services. “This certification is important to many of the contractors who deliver C&D waste to the facility.  If a contractor is working on a project that is seeking LEED green-building certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the contractor will earn credit toward that certification by delivering the C&D generated by the project to an RCI-certified facility such as ReSource Lewiston.”

LEED construction projects, certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, are required to meet minimum recycling rates for their C&D waste. “We are proud to play a part in our region’s progress toward sustainable construction and development,” Canty said. “Verified sustainability is becoming more and more important to project developers, architects, environmental groups and government agencies.”

Stephen Bantillo, executive director of RCI, said the Institute’s national certification program ensures integrity, transparency, accuracy and reliability in the recovery/recycling reports of participating C&D recycling facilities. Bantillo said that RCI used a rigorous, open, and comprehensive process for developing its protocols. Its primary focus, he said, is on accurate recycling accounting to ensure that the recovery and recycling reports issued by certified facilities are real, verifiable, reproducible, and reasonable.

Environmental Service Management Group, Inc. (ESMG) performed the evaluation for RCI. The ESMG evaluation, and additional information on RCI and the ReSource Lewiston facility’s performance, can be found here.

About ReSource Waste Services of Lewiston

The Lewiston facility, located at 38 Alfred A. Plourde Parkway, is Maine’s largest C&D processing facility and an important component of Maine’s solid waste management system. The facility supports approximately 40 direct full-time jobs, varying by season, and dozens more indirect jobs, and spends approximately $14 million per year on operating expenses, and conducts business with more than 100 vendors and 55 customers. The facility processed approximately 180,000 tons of C&D in 2023. Personnel and equipment are used to recover as much reusable product as possible that can be sold to end markets. Recovered materials can be used to for a wide variety of uses: fuel for electricity generation; medium-density fiberboard (MDF) manufacturing; asphalt paving; new cardboard and drywall; recycled plastic and metal products; and miscellaneous construction materials and soil substitutes.

LEED v5 for O+M: Existing Buildings (Beta Version)

Posted on January 30, 2024

LEED v5 for O+M: Existing Buildings (Beta Version) shows promise in addressing some of the hard(er)-to-recover materials in demolition, renovation, and remodeling projects. Materials like carpet, acoustical ceiling tile, furniture, and gypsum wallboard/drywall tend to have higher embodied-carbon ratings, so incentivizing their pathway into closed-loop product take-back manufacturing systems makes sense.

Looking at it from an operational perspective, removing these materials from the C&D materials stream could mean that the typical Mixed/Commingled C&D operation will have less hard-to-recover materials to process, sort, and eventually dispose of in landfills. Spending less time sorting low/no value materials should be a good thing, right?

Does this make up for the reduction in easy-to-recover materials (which have become increasingly source separated) being sent to Mixed/Commingled C&D operations? It depends. But it is still a benefit. Moreover, for us and others who watch these moves, it serves as another signal that the world of materials management and the policies that shape it are always in transition.

We look forward to seeing the full LEED v5 for Materials & Resources.

C&D World 2024 — Mark Your Calendars!

Posted on October 13, 2023

C&D World 2024

January 31 – February 2 | Bonita Springs, Florida

C&D World, the CDRA’s Annual Meeting, is held each spring and is the meeting place of the C&D industry. Attendees range from the top management of leading C&D hauling and recycling companies to individuals just starting out in the business and the vendors that serve this market. C&D World features educational sessions focused on must-know trends and topics, networking during breaks and receptions, and information on the latest equipment and services.

Learn More About the Conference and Expo Here!


C&D World 2022 Success

Posted on April 15, 2022

“C&D World 2022 Success”

That is the headline in CDRA’s recent newsletter and comments I’ve heard from attendess would echo that message.  The C&D industry looks to be firing on all cylinders and on the advance.  From CDRA:

“What a great show!” was the consensus from attendees at C&D World 2022, the Annual Meeting of the CDRA held March 12-15 in Atlanta. From the well-attended committee meetings on March 12—a Saturday, no less—to a sold-out tour on March 15 hosted by the gracious team at Luck Stone, there were nothing but high points for the 29th C&D World. Attendance returned to pre-pandemic levels, proving that C&D leaders were ready to get together and discuss the issues facing the industry. Presenters covered the gauntlet from an economic forecast to operations at mixed C&D recycling plants. And attendees were able to interact and learn from each other, just as the conference was originally designed to do. We also want to thank the sponsors of the event: Komptech Americas and Plexus Recycling Technologies, CDE, Sparta, General Kinematics, Torxx, Eagle Crusher, VAN DYK Recycling Solutions, Starlight Software, Amp Robotics, Recycling Today Media Group, Untha, Sennebogen, Fire Rover, Machinex, and GreenWaste. Be sure to save the date for C&D World 2023, taking place March 14-15 in Las Vegas alongside ConExpo-Con/Agg.

We would also like to acknowledge the 2022 CDRA Award Recipients for their successes and contributions to the C&D industry.  Of particular note are the RCI Registered and Certified Facilities as recipients of Best Practices in Safety Awards.  Congratulations to all the CDRA award winners!

Presented at C&D World in Atlanta, GA

CDRA Hall of Fame – Dan Costello, Costello Dismantling Company, Inc. 
The Hall of Fame, the industry’s highest honor, celebrates individuals whose careers have best served the industry and the CDRA.

CDRA Member of the Year – Becky Caldwell, Caldwell Environmental Solutions
The CDRA Member of the Year is selected based on extraordinary service to the mission of the organization and the C&D Recycling industry over the previous 12-month period.

C&D Recycler of the Year – Posillico Materials
The C&D Recycler of the Year honors those Recycling Operations in the Construction and Demolition Recycling industry who have made an extraordinary contribution to the industry.

Best Practices in Safety Awards
Gold Award: Champion Waste & RecyclingCherry CompaniesDem-Con CompaniesDTG RecycleGray & SonLautenbach RecyclingMichael Brothers Hauling & RecyclingPremier Recycle Company, and Southwind RAS

Silver Award: R&B Debris and JR Ramon Demolition

How COVID is Impacting C&D Recycling

Posted on September 21, 2020

From Recycling Today – September 15, 2020

While COVID-19’s impact pertaining to amplified residential and diminished commercial volumes has been well documented, its specific effect on the C&D material stream hasn’t garnered as much attention.

At a Sept. 15 WasteExpo Together Online session titled “C&D and COVID-19: Where do we go from here?” a panel of industry experts discussed how ramifications from the pandemic have influenced the industry at large.

Moderated by Clark-Floyd Landfill LLC VP of Engineering & Environmental Affairs Bruce Schmucker, the session also featured Interior Removal Specialist Inc. (IRS) Director of Environmental Affairs Richard Ludt, Dem-Con Companies President Bill Keegan, and AMP Robotics founder and CEO Matanya Horowitz.

“Demo got hit hard when the governor of California announced a Safer at Home order for the state,” Ludt says regarding IRS’s operations, which focus on interior demolition of commercial spaces in the Los Angeles area. “We lost about 90 percent of our work overnight. And then in the coming weeks when it was determined construction was an essential activity, we got a fair amount of it back, but there are still some pretty significant issues going on with construction right now.”

Ludt says that IRS has embraced the Recycling Certification Institute’s certification, which evaluates recycling facilities by not just the percentage of weight diverted from landfill, but also the percentage by commodity diverted from landfill.

Ludt says that one way COVID has impacted operations is by forcing recyclers to reduce the number of manual sorting personnel in their facilities due to the inability to social distance staff. Because this reduced efficiency is hindering facilities’ ability to meet LEED diversion mandates, he says the USGBC is taking a facility’s diversion numbers from the 6 months prior to COVID into account when giving credit to those using these sites.

Keegan says that Dem-Con’s Minnesota-based C&D recovery facility, which specializes in recovering wood, metals, cardboard and aggregate, processes approximately 50,000 to 60,000 tons of C&D per year. The site’s operations were declared an essential service in late March and subsequently were allowed to continue, but the facility looks much different today in how it operates, Keegan says.

“Our response to the pandemic has included creating a COVID action plan, and we’re getting all too familiar with terms like social distancing, but we’ve implemented that,” he says. “We have hygiene and respiratory practices so we have mandatory facemasks, regular cleaning of the facility multiple times a day, we’ve added breakroom and lunchroom areas, we’ve also set up worker pods [that group smaller numbers of workers together rather than have them comingled] and created those so we’re limiting exposure at the facility, we’ve reduced common touchpoints and moved to ticketless transactions and reduced the use of manual time clocks as well, and we’ve reduced the use of refrigerators, microwaves and other shared spaces.”

Keegan says while Dem-Con hasn’t had any workers test positive for COVID yet, it’s a matter of “when” not “if.” Nonetheless, he notes the company has been vigilant in adapting to a new way of doing business.

Keegan points to U.S. housing starts, which were up 160 percent from April to July, as a positive indicator of ramped up activity on the residential side that he forecasts will last into 2021. Conversely, commercial real estate has been down an average of 25 percent with hospitality being down 47 percent, he notes.

At Dem-Con’s facility, Keegan says volumes of C&D tons were up 20 percent year over year into July. He attributes this to ongoing projects continuing operation, while acknowledging that the third and fourth quarters aren’t looking as favorable and he projects volumes to be down overall into 2021.

Although he notes that Dem-Con has strong local end markets for wood, the wood tons recovered at the facility have been down this year, which threatens the company’s bottom line being one of the more high-value commodities. He did say, however, that he couldn’t attribute this directly to COVID.

On ferrous tons recovered, Dem-Con was up in Q1 and Q2 over last year, but Keegan says markets are lower in general. Again, he says it is too early to attribute this directly to COVID.

Going forward, Horowitz says he thinks investment in AI and robotic sorting technology can help mitigate some of the unpredictable staffing issues C&D recyclers are seeing, including safety-related ones unique to COVID.

He also says robotics can help facilities better distance workers without sacrificing throughput.

While these systems were initially designed for single-stream applications, Horowitz notes they are now coming online to help facilities with both staffing and cash flow issues stemming from commodity swings in C&D facilities.

“Initially our focus had been on all these different types of single-stream materials, but now, we’ve found that pretty much the same technology is able to learn and distinguish a large fraction of materials in the construction and demolition world. This can be anything from aggregate to wood and this shows the promise of the technology.”


Posted with permission.  Original article may be found here:

Quality vs Quantity

Posted on May 26, 2020

How often is it we hear the phrase “Quality versus Quantity”?  It sometimes elicits a sense of conflict as if to suggest the two are mutually exclusive.  In the current landscape of rules and regulations for C&D recovery, C&D facilities are being pressed to achieve higher quantities of recovered materials while at the same time the markets are demanding higher quality materials.  So yes, in our industry there is an inherent conflict built into that phrase.  But do we forego one in pursuit of the other?  The answer should be “no”.  Both are achievable, but we must look at solutions from a more holistic perspective.

The conflict between the two will always be present if rules and regulations demand higher recovery rates above all else.  A key challenge is that there is only so much a facility can recover from the materials it receives.  As the saying goes, “You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.”  And the markets are increasingly sensitive to the quality of materials they receive from processors.  Something must give.

Rules and regulations demanding higher recovery rates incentivize facilities participating in a local program to reject low quality loads or code the material as “trash” to maintain a high recovery rate if they want to continue participation in the program.  Another pathway some facilities may take is even less desirable – falsely reporting a higher recovery rate – which comes with a host of negative implications.  And further down the line there are facilities that might accept the loads with low percentages of recoverable materials.  These facilities may do a great job recovering what can be sent to market, but unfortunately their recovery rate may be too low to qualify them for participation in the local program.

The above scenarios may sound hypothetical to some, but they are real.  From a rules and regulations perspective, there is conflict with each of the scenarios.  From a holistic perspective, the system is falling short of the overall potential amount of recovered C&D materials.  Is there a solution that minimizes the conflict and maximizes the recovery of C&D materials?  We think there is, and it comes with numerous benefits beyond reducing the conflict.

Simply put, rules and regulations should focus on performance and not solely on a high recovery rate.  What we mean by a focus on performance is that a facility should recover as much of the recoverable C&D material as possible.  While that may sound simple in concept, we know there are complications and systemic challenges to be overcome.  However, we believe this shift in focus will benefit local programs as well as the C&D industry.

Below is a short list of reasons why a focus on performance has more benefits than a focus on a high recovery rate and can contribute to a higher amount of recovered material overall:

1)    A focus on performance acknowledges market challenges and rewards facilities for doing the best they can with the loads they receive.

2)    Recovering 90% of the 20% that is recoverable is better than landfilling 100% of it.

3)    Facilities are more likely to process all loads they receive.

4)    More facilities can participate in local programs, which contributes to jobs and the economy.

5)    Facilities whose operational models accommodate lower quality loads reduce the pressure on facilities whose equipment is designed to accept higher quality loads.

6)    Effective programs should require third-party certification for facilities to verify performance and compliance, which contributes to a level playing field.

This emerging issue is an area that RCI will be exploring in the coming year and we look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions on the topic.


Stephen M Bantillo is Executive Director of the Recycling Certification Institute, and can be reached at


How Many Versions of LEED? C&D Interpreted

Posted on December 11, 2019

This Latest News post comes to you from the “Turn Back Time” department.

The Recycling Certification Institute (RCI) remains engaged on numerous issues directly and indirectly related to third-party certification.  One of the key issues for 2019 has been the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) updates to LEED.  A prior version of LEED (v4) required separation of C&D material streams for credit in the Materials and Resources section.  USGBC updated v4 with a new release in January 2019 in the form of v4.1 beta.  While still requiring separation of C&D materials, v4.1 beta sought to make it easier for builders who took their mixed C&D materials to facilities Certified by RCI.  Unfortunately, the initial version of v4.1 beta added confusion and did not meaningfully address the issues associated with onsite separation of material streams.

RCI continued its communication with USGBC regarding our concerns and last summer the USGBC released an updated version of LEED v4.1 beta.  This latest release is the closest we’ve seen to our original recommendations to USGBC.  While it provides incentive for builders to take mixed C&D loads to RCI-Certified facilities and addresses some of the issues with onsite material separation, it still does not go quite far enough.  We will continue our work with USGBC to bring benefits to projects taking C&D materials to RCI-Certified facilities, which in turn benefits those facilities that are or become RCI-Certified.

We recognize there is still confusion in the “C&D-sphere” with multiple versions of LEED still in play (v2009, v4, and v4.1 beta, for example).  To assist C&D facilities, builders, contractors, project managers/consultants, haulers, local government, etc., we have created a sheet that simplifies the various versions of LEED and provides some basic Q&A as examples.  You may download the sheet at our resources page .



CDRA 2019 Annual Awards Presented at C&D World in Brooklyn, NY

Posted on April 23, 2019

RCI is pleased to share with you the list of CDRA awardees as announced March 11th at 2019 C&D World in Brooklyn, New York.  Congratulations to all the awardees on their achievements in advancing the C&D recycling industry.   It comes as no surprise that at least half of the awardees are operators of RCI Certified Facilities, who continually demonstrate through action their desire to operate at the highest level.  You can read more about the awards on CDRA’s News and Events page here:

Construction & Demolition Recycling Hall of Fame

Jay Giltz, Eagle Crusher Company

Michael Gross, Zanker Recycling


CDRA Recycler of the Year

Richard Ludt, Construction and Demolition Recycling


CDRA Member of the Year

Terri Ward, Sparta Manufacturing Inc.


CDRA Best Practices in Safety Awards


Cherry Companies

Denney Excavating 

Recon Services

Lautenbach Industries

Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS)

DTG Enterprises, Inc.


Premier Recycling Company

Champion Waste & Recycling 

Dem Con Companies

Michael Bros. Hauling


Baumann Recycling

Kurtz Bros.





RCI’s Certification Process Featured in Construction & Demolition Recycling magazine

Posted on August 9, 2017

Today’s post is a two-fer…

Part One:  Kristin Smith, editor of Construction & Demolition Recycling magazine, posed the question, “How does a facility become certified by the Recycling Certification Institute (RCI)?”  While every facility is different, the CORR Protocol follows a basic set of compulsory elements while being flexible enough to accommodate a variety of business and operational models.  The article talks about the process from a relatively high level, so please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to discuss in greater detail how an RCI-Certification can work for your facility.

Part Two:  The second part is actually an article within an article, modified to fit this format.  Kristin Smith and Meri Soll talk about StopWaste‘s goal of leveling the playing field in C&D facility recycling performance reporting.  StopWaste is a public agency in Alameda County responsible for a variety of successful resource management policies and programs in their community.  Through StopWaste’s collaborative efforts, numerous cities have signed on in support of StopWaste’s program that provides incentives for certain C&D facilities to become third-party certified to meet the requirements of the participating cities, CalGreen (State of California), and USGBC’s LEED Pilot Credit criteria (MRpc87).

Thank you to Kristin for the opportunity to explain our process and to StopWaste for their ongoing support of a level playing field through a National Standard for third-party certification.

You can read the stories in their original format in the July 2017 edition of Construction & Demolition Recycling magazine or check out the modified text version below.


Up to standard

Receiving a certification from the Recycling Certification Institute requires a number of steps, including data gathering and documentation.

How does a facility become certified by the Recycling Certification Institute (RCI)? This is an often-asked question that needs context for its answer. The reason for this is because, frequently, there are other related questions and drivers for the question being asked in the first place.

The Milwaukee-based Construction and Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA), through its members and other stakeholders, like the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), both based in Washington, had received comments, inquiries and concerns regarding accuracy of the numbers reported by construction and demolition (C&D) recycling facilities.

With many local and state jurisdictions measuring the recycling/diversion rates as well as the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program awarding credits for C&D recovery and recycling, the importance of ensuring a high level of confidence in the accuracy of the recycling and recovery rates reported by the C&D facilities became a key issue that required addressing.

The CDRA responded by engaging these and other industry stakeholders to develop a process that would professionally review and certify the recycling/recovery rates of these operations. The Certification of Recycling Rates (CORR) Protocol was developed to International Organization of Standardization (ISO)-level standards and the RCI, with offices in Sacramento, California, was created to meet the growing need for reliable recycling and recovery reporting by C&D facilities, which are verified and certified through the CORR Protocol.

following the steps

The first step in becoming certified is registration. RCI website”, www.recycling, provides information on process and requirements. One of the key requirements is that a facility must have certified scales.

While that may seem obvious, in plenty of instances, C&D facilities may be legally operating under their state or city permits without scales. It is not unreasonable for them to assume they could be certified under RCI’s program. However, the CORR Protocol does require scales because it produces a set of records that can be audited and verified, and scale weights are more accurate and reliable than estimated volumes.

The operator identifies the facility name and location and provides contact and payment information. Following the initial submittal, RCI may contact the facility and conduct a brief interview to determine eligibility and provide some assistance to the facility going forward.

Once RCI approves the establishment of the account, the facility can then enter more information about the operation. Information could include hours of operation, materials accepted and permits. The operator then enters the most recent month of data for materials received and shipped from the facility.

RCI reviews the initial data submittal and how the materials have been characterized for recycling and/or disposal. It is known that facilities and regions may characterize materials differently, so RCI wants to ensure the same definitions and terminologies are used for a standardized approach to material characterization.

Once RCI approves the account, the facility is displayed on RCI’s registered facilities webpage. The facility will then enter the previous 11 months of data so a full year is represented. The information posted by the facility has yet to be audited and verified. The facility must also make substantive progress toward certification to maintain its status on the registered facilities page.

submitting the application

The next step is submitting the application for certification. This application contains detailed information about the facility or line that is to be certified and can be found on RCI’s resources webpage.

The application can expand based on the amount of information a facility may need to enter. This form allows for the provision of information that was not included during registration, and can be kept confidential if the company does not wish to post the information to the website. It also provides more detail for the institute to review during the verification process.

Submittal of the application for certification initiates the official engagement and prequalification process. This process serves as the initial desk audit to ensure the validity and accuracy of its data and operations in accordance with its permits and applicable laws and regulations. Following the desk audit and prequalification, RCI will dispatch one of its trained evaluators to conduct on-site verification of the information provided.

In addition to the information in the application, the facility will submit two other documents critical to the review and prequalification process.

The first document is a data file that consists of the most recent 12 months of inbound and outbound materials. The template communicates which data sets and categories RCI requires, but facilities may also define any material codes they may use so that RCI can more easily compare and verify this data with what was submitted through the facility’s webpage report. These data files remain confidential between RCI and the facility.

The second document is a narrative about the facility/operation. The narrative describes the operation by providing information on scales, unloading/inspection, separation, screening, storage and processing. It provides information on equipment and buildings and describes the process of how materials move through the facility and what materials are produced for market.

This narrative is important for several reasons. It demonstrates that the operator has a documented working knowledge of the facility, and it establishes a baseline for the certification. Also key to the narrative is it creates a picture of the operation so RCI knows what to expect before stepping foot on-site to conduct the evaluation. If the facility is using proprietary technologies or processes, it may identify them as such and request confidentiality.

RCI trains C&D industry professionals on the CORR Protocol and evaluation methodologies. Once a facility has achieved prequalification, a RCI evaluator will contact the facility to coordinate an on-site visit, which typically takes a full day. The evaluator will develop an evaluation plan based on the information provided by the facility. The evaluation consists of observation of operations and a review and audit of records.

The main purpose of observing the operation is to verify the information the facility submitted, ensuring the facility is operating in conformance with its permits and has appropriate signage, properly trained employees wearing personal protective gear and to investigate any potential risks.

The second half of the site visit is primarily focused on document review and verification. This entails reviewing key documents such as permits, training manuals and records, scale certificates and inspection records. The evaluator also will sample weight and sales tickets to verify accuracy or investigate any errors or inconsistencies.

It is common for the evaluator to observe and ask questions of the scale, load checking and data management staff regarding their responsibilities and functions related to process and the collection, use and management of data.

In the end, RCI must be able to make affirmative statements about the facility in several key areas. These include regulatory compliance; use of scales; supporting data for rate estimates; data transcription and management; employee training; and performance standards. The evaluator will review his or her findings from the site visit and develop an evaluation report.

The evaluator first submits the report to the facility for review and, barring no objection and assuming the facility is qualified, the evaluator will then submit the report with a recommendation for approval of certification.

Upon review and approval, RCI’s executive director designates the facility as a certified facility and it listed on the certified facilities webpage. The facility’s evaluation report is included for transparency.


While becoming certified under the CORR Protocol may take some effort, there are some clear and overwhelming benefits. A facility certified under the CORR Protocol meets the requirements of the USGBC’s LEED pilot credit (MRpc87). This means that LEED projects taking C&D materials to a facility certified by RCI automatically qualify for an extra point regardless of the facility’s recycling rate. This additional point is a bonus of certification, especially for those facilities where recycling rates may have declined because alternate daily cover no longer is counted under LEED v4.

Some facilities have recognized after completing the certification process that they have participated in what amounts to a business process and integrity audit. They have used this outside perspective and newly gained insights about their operations to implement improvements.

Finally, certification under this national standard program leads to accuracy, credibility and transparency. And with a CORR Protocol certification, facilities are able to promote their recycling and recovery performance as “real, verifiable, reproducible and reliable.”

Stephen Bantillo is executive director of the Recycling Certification Institute (RCI), Sacramento, California. More information on the certification process is available at


Leveling the playing field

By Kristin Smith

StopWaste, based in Oakland, California, is a public agency that helps Alameda County’s businesses, residents and schools waste less, recycle more and use water, energy and other resources efficiently. Construction and demolition debris (C&D) is no exception.

About seven years ago, cities within the county passed ordinances requiring a minimum of 50 percent diversion of C&D materials generated from construction projects. Many staff members in the cities were unclear on how to implement the ordinance; specifically how to assess a facility’s recycling rates. As a result, StopWaste’s Deputy Executive Director Tom Padia and Senior Program Manager Meri Soll compiled a list of facilities that were processing mixed C&D materials from construction projects in Alameda County.

“StopWaste and City staff worked together to compile a list of facilities, incorporating facilities most utilized by Alameda County contractors.  We developed a reporting form for the facilities to complete and then conducted a site tour” says Soll. “We utilized their self-reported data at their word and put a list together that incorporated recycling rates for cities to utilize.”

At first the list helped cities implement the C&D ordinance, but as building code became more stringent and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification increased in prevalence, Soll says the list became used in ways that was never intended.

According to Soll, “It became a convenient list for contractors trying to meet LEED requirements. It was being referred to in ways not originally intended, and the data wasn’t certified [by a third party]. At the end of the day, this list was just  self-certified recycling rates.”

She says StopWaste wanted to “get out of the C&D facility list business” and was looking for entities that provided third party certification programs that could be used regionally, to reduce or eliminate the redundancies, inconsistencies and inefficiencies of multiple rating and audit reviews.

The agency was part of initial discussions with the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA), Milwaukee, and the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, when the Certification of Recycling Rates (CORR) program was developed as a way to “help certify facility recycling rates utilizing one standard.”

In the push to have the certification adopted regionally, the needle wasn’t moving according to Soll. On the municipal level some officials felt the cost was too high (about $7,000 per year) to impose on the facilities and therefore were not willing to participate in a regional program. Feedback from facilities, she says, was that they didn’t see the need for certification if cities were not requiring it. Cost wasn’t so much a factor from the facilities’ perspective, she adds.

Soll says she circled back with all the cities in Alameda County asking them to require the certification in order for the program to move forward. The Alameda County cities of Hayward, Alameda,  Berkeley as well as the County’s largest city, Oakland, signed on to require contractors to take mixed C&D materials  to a third party certified facility that meets the LEED standard (currently only RCI meets the LEED standard). She says these communities recognize the importance of verifying a facility’s recycling rate as accurate rather than simply requiring a facility to meet a certain minimal recycling rate. “A facility’s recycling rate goes up and down based on markets, so requiring a certain recycling rate for a facility isn’t really that helpful,” Soll says. “Requiring a facility to get certified by a third party entity that assesses the facility’s ability to recover is a better marker than meeting a minimal recycling rate”.

The four cities that have currently signed onto the program represent about half of the population in Alameda County, with other cities poised to join.  Soll says she thinks the certification program will get traction from the facility-level. “These cities’ commitment to requiring contractors to take their mixed C&D materials to a certified facility should be enough to get 10 to 12 of the heavily utilized mixed C&D facilities certified. When that happens then we have done our job,” says Soll.

Another factor affecting mixed C&D recycling facilities is the large increase in new construction in the Bay Area.  Contractors are travelling far distances from their main offices and the destination of mixed C&D materials is changing.  Many contractors are hauling their materials on the way back to the office and are utilizing facilities that both Alameda County city staff and StopWaste staff are not aware of.    Many cities utilize the software Green Halo, which is a web-based waste management tracking tool. Green Halo utilizes recycling rates provided by RCI, or if not certified, a self-reported rate is utilized. StopWaste monitors the facilities utilized in Green Halo.  Soll says she gets calls about once a week asking for a facility to be inputted into the Green Halo system, claiming as high as a 92 percent recycling rate. She says rates that high are suspect, especially when she knows facilities that have invested millions of dollars in infrastructure and have had their rates certified are achieving closer to 75-80 percent diversion rates.

“I do feel for these facilities that have millions of dollars in infrastructure that are constantly being scrutinized by their local environmental agencies and their cities to make sure they are operating by their permit,” she says. “It is unfair competition when someone else can say they are getting a 90 percent recycling rate and not doing much sorting, and taking materials and transferring them to a facility for ADC (alternative daily cover).”

She concludes, “We would love to level the playing field and for every city in our area to say, ‘ You must take  your mixed C&D materials to a certified C&D facility where the recycling rate has been verified by a third-party entity that meets the LEED standard.’ That is the big goal a goal we have been working toward for a long time.”