Construction produces a LOT of waste. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. We do our best to reduce our waste stream: cardboard packaging gets recycled, neighbors take lumber scraps to use as firewood, and we save leftover pieces of just about everything in case we eventually find a use. But eventually we do have to throw things away.
Terry made a trip to the town dump this week. I helped him load his truck high with construction debris we can’t reuse, recycle, or burn. Into the bed went scraps of shingles, siding, aluminum, ICFs, engineered decking, and drywall, plus packaging materials made of plastic and wax paper. Terry set up plywood around the perimeter to increase his capacity, and together we strapped a tarp over the top to keep stuff from falling out. In all, the contents weighed half a ton… the dump charges by the ton, so that’s how I know. Terry made a dump run last month too, and based on the remaining contents of our makeshift dumpster (originally it was a horse shed) it’ll take another two full loads to clean us out. 4000 pounds of garbage seems obscene, but like I said we’ve worked hard to keep it down.
As long as we were taking out the trash, we also cleaned the site thoroughly. The Barn got a real makeover as we swept up all the sawdust and other debris, then moved our various saw stations to new locations. Within the main house we’ve done a good job keeping the floors clean ever since the drywall installation. The flooring in the kitchen and living room stands up well to construction abuse; it’s easy to sweep it every afternoon and get rid of the dirt we track in. In the basement I used a diamond grinder – a round spinning tool similar to an electric sander – to smooth out the dog room floor, which Colin intends to paint directly. My effort kicked up copious amounts of choking concrete dust, and once it settled to the floor Carson sucked it all away with the shop vac.
Cleanup isn’t the most glamorous part of the job – although, come to think of it, nothing about this job comes even close to “glamorous” – but I do like the finality of getting rid of stuff we know we’ll never need again. And it sure feels serene to have a spotless house!