Online Marketplace Aims To Boost Sale Of Salvaged Construction Materials

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff February 22, 2007

Portland, Ore.,

BoneyardNW is the creation of Metro, the directly elected regional government that serves more than 1.3 million residents in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, and the 25 cities in the Portland, Ore.,

In the tradition of online marketplaces such as eBay and Craig’s List, BoneyardNW is a website that provides a place for the selling and buying of usable commercial construction materials that have been taken out of a building during renovation or demolition. Currently, many of those materials—including valuable items such as windows, doors, flooring and even soil—end up in the landfill. About 20% of all waste created in the Portland area is construction waste.

The rise of green building in the Northwest has spurred a further interest in “deconstruction” and “salvage” as opposed to demolition and disposal of construction material. Deconstruction allows the building to be taken down in much the same way it was built, piece by piece, preserving the usable materials that can then be sold. The preservation and reuse of building materials is called “salvage.” One of the benefits of using salvaged materials is that it can help projects earn a certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED system.

Metro hopes to divert 10,000 tons of usable building materials from being thrown away through the use of BoneyardNW and other services available to building contractors, developers and others in the commercial building industry.

A recent study by Metro of recycling among construction and demolition contractors showed that some of them were recycling materials such as wood, metal and cardboard, but that construction companies often lacked current information about the opportunities for reuse, recycling and the sale and purchase of salvaged materials. Metro hopes to jumpstart more reuse of usable building materials with BoneyardNW.