Category Archives: Drop Box Brigade

Ever Tried Dumpster Dunking? – PANYL

Dan Goldman gave us a tip on an Upcycle gone bent. Even though this isn’t building material reuse, or really reuse in any way (turns out this hoop wasn’t even discarded) we like it when we get mail.

So check out the folks from PANYL dumpster dunking.

(For a more legit expression of reuse – join The Drop Box Brigade and bring waste awareness to your community!)

Everybody’s heard of Dumpster-diving.  A smaller number may be aware of a great New Orleans band called Dumpstaphunk featuring cousins Ivan and Ian Neville.    But to our knowledge this is the official coining of “Dumpster Dunking.”

You see about 10 days ago a basketball hoop appeared next to the dumpster.   It had a crack or two in the backboard and a healthy coating of filth, but otherwise in perfectly usable condition.  After a few more days we assumed that whoever brought it was trying to get it in the dumpster but it was too heavy and they had to just leave it there.  We then thought, “We should be the ones to upcycle it.”

Except that it wasn’t actually being thrown out.  It was a guy’s in the architecture office next door and for some reason he didn’t really like that we essentially had vandalized his hoop.   (This also led to a side debate about whether you can “upcycle” something that isn’t being discarded.  We eventually concluded that would just be “decorating”).

Lastly, Tris drove the net.

via Ever Tried Dumpster Dunking?.

Drop Box Brigade! 2nd and Salmon, Portland, Oregon

Welcome to another addition of the Drop Box Brigade!

This photo of a construction dumpster was made possible by a Brigader in Portland, Oregon. While this project looks like it is just getting started, we can already spot the easily reusable glass panes to the right.

If you are not familiar with the Drop Box Brigade, please read up and consider joining us in our pursuit of construction waste reuse and recycling awareness.  Anyone can be a Brigader – just snap a shot of a construction dumpster and send it to   You too can help bring awareness to construction and demolition waste!

Drop Box Brigade: SE 49th and Madison Portland, OR

Drop Brigader’s are at it again!

Here is a nice shot of lath and plaster, vinyl flooring, metal, and some gnarly looking press board.

Admittedly, lath and plaster is a tough combination to separate. However England has a 95% construction recycling rate, so it makes one wonder what they do with their lath and plaster?

What would you do to keep it out of the waste stream?

Drop Box Brigade: North East Portland, Oregon

Spring has sprung in Portland, Oregon. The Cherry and Magnolias trees are blooming and folks are compelled to gut their homes.

Well, not everyone is renovating, but it certainly feels that way.

This dropbox is most likely going to a wood recycler even though there is a decent amount of drywall in the mix. Recycled wood is shredded into mulch nails and all. It is a lot easier to shred wood than denail it for reuse. However, mulch is the end of the life cycle for wood.

The Drop Box Brigader who sent me this picture stopped to talk about the wood flooring in it.  Older tongue and grove floorboards have the a quarter inch of wood on either side of the “tongue”. This is great for reuse purposes as you can flip the floorboards over and finish them, even if the original side has been sanded down quite a bit.

Reclaimed floorboards are a very popular product in the reuse center I used to work at.

Thanks DBBrigader, keep those pictures rolling in!

Wanna join the Drop Box Brigade? Start seeing dropboxes near you!

Drop Box Brigade SE Salmon, Portland, OR

Spotted on SE Salmon and 32nd in Portland, Oregon a mixed use debris box.

Now, how hard would it have been to separate that lath?

I especially want to thank the construction worker who sent this to the RA!

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that people who work in the construction industry are very responsive to C&D waste.  They see it every day, and are more apt to get angry when their colleagues disregard the laws.  My work with demolition companies enlightened me to how much those guys try to save personally.  I know a man who’s wife was ready to divorce him if he brought home anything else salvaged from a site.  He did confess that he had an entire turn of the century bank vault installed in his basement.  He said he just couldn’t see it thrown away.

Thanks Major Tom of the Drop Box Brigade!

The Drop Box Brigade Has Arrived!!

Drop Box in Portland, Oregon – thank you Max!!

The Reclamation Administration can inspire change by providing news on policy, waste management, design, and community awareness.

The Drop Box Brigade is a program to help citizen’s awareness in their own communities by snapping photos of construction dumpsters or drop boxes in their neighborhoods.  By posting pictures of drop boxes on The RA website people can see the materials that are being wasted or diverted from their own neighborhoods.  Photographing waste has been adopted world wide as a strategy to bring awareness to pollution, poverty, and crime.  It is an effective tool for change.  This is one of the many ways that the citizens of Portland can support the City of Portland’s jobsite recycling requirements.

To join the Drop Box Brigade:

  1. Snap a photo of the inside of a construction dumpster near you and send it to
  2. Put DBB in the subject line and your handle if you want (ex: DDB GutterCherry SE Pdx)
  3. You can add the neighborhood or cross streets, but for respect and privacy reasons – no actual addresses please.

Mixed debris drop box with salvageable wood, and recyclable paper. 


Be aware that climbing into, or on a dumpster is dangerous and against the law.  Please be respectful of property and property owners.  If you desire an item that is being thrown away, just ask for it.  In many cases people are happy to lighten the load of those drop boxes as the dump fees are based on weight, and lightening the load is in their best interest.


About 40% of the average landfill is made up of construction and demolition waste.  A waste composition study done by Metro (the regional government for the Portland metropolitan area), in 1994, determined that nearly 26% of the region’s disposed waste is generated by construction (including remodeling) and demolition debris (C&D) from structures such as residential and commercial buildings and roadways – approximately 256,000 tons out of a total of about 1,000,000 tons. Much of this waste is easily reused or recycled, so it makes sense to target it for waste reduction and recycling (ODEQ

The City of Portland, Metro Regional Government, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, nonprofit organizations and private businesses are trying to reduce the amount of C&D waste that is generated.  The City of Portland’s  Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has developed guidelines for all building projects within the City where the total job cost (including both demolition and construction phases) exceeds $50,000, the general contractor shall ensure that 75% of the solid waste produced on the job site is recycled.  In addition, the following materials must be recycled and diverted from the landfill: Rubble (concrete/asphalt), Land Clearing Debris, Corrugated Cardboard, Metal, and Wood.  The general contractor is responsible for ensuring recycling at the job site, including recycling by sub-contractors, and for completing a Pre-Construction Recycling Plan Form.  Where no general contractor has been named on the permit application, the property owner is considered the responsible party (

Unfortunately, due to the scope of the construction industry, oversight is difficult and compliance is somewhat honor based.  Education on the recycling mandates, followed by community interest in neighborhood construction projects can help steward the laws into practice.  Showing interest in local contractors Construction Recycling Plans, and even asking to see them demonstrates awareness and investment in the sustainability of our city.

Thank You

Thanks in advance for your interest in the RA.  Even if you don’t join the Drop Box Brigade we appreciate your interest.

Construction & Demolition Recycling : Industry News Wastecon 2011: Raising the C&D Diversion Roof

In addition to the economics of construction and demolition (C&D) materials recycling having improved, state legislation and local ordinances also have driven more C&D recycling. That was part of the message from panelists at a session on C&D recycling at Wastecon, the annual convention of SWANA (the Solid Waste Association of North America).

Speaker Richard Ludt of Interior Removal Specialist Inc. (IRS), South Gate, Calif., noted how a number of ordinances enacted in Southern California have affected C&D scrap diversion flows in his market region.

Reacting to California Assembly Bill 939, which was passed in 1989 with the goal of increasing landfill diversion to 50 percent, municipalities enacted a variety of ordinances affecting C&D materials, Ludt said.

Ludt said some communities have required contractors to pay a deposit that will not be returned until their project is finished and they can prove they reached a specified landfill diversion or recycling rate. Such arrangements were not always well received by contractors and also tended to create extensive recordkeeping and accounting systems for the municipalities.

Ludt praised the city of Los Angeles for creating “possibly the simplest C&D ordinance I have seen.” In Los Angeles, C&D materials must be taken to certified facilities that have been audited and approved by the city. “They reach their desired recycling percentage by permitting [facilities] carefully,” said Ludt. “Builders like it because there is no deposit and city staff like it because there is no tracking of deposit payments.”

Speaker Miriam Zimms of Kessler Consulting Inc., Tampa, Fla., provided an overview of C&D recycling in several regions where municipalities or solid waste districts have tried approaches to spur recycling.

In King County, Wash., Zimms said agencies there are providing considerable technical support, have streamlined the permitting process and offer grants tied to “green building” LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects. These initiatives have been enough to boost the C&D materials landfill diversion rate to 83 percent in King County, according to Zimms.

Metro Portland, Ore., is another region where LEED projects are abundant, and in fact new Metro Portland government buildings are required to seek LEED certification, said Zimms. Builders in the region are mandated to recycle 75 percent of their scrap materials, although Zimms said only 45 percent of projects may be in compliance with this mandate.

In her home state of Florida, Zimms said C&D recycling has grown to the point where there are now more than 120 C&D recycling facilities in the Sunshine State, although Florida’s overall C&D materials diversion percentage may be no greater than about 27 percent.

Wastecon 2011 was Aug. 23-25 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn.

via Construction & Demolition Recycling : Industry News Wastecon 2011: Raising the C&D Diversion Roof.

Atlantic County seeks halt to Egg Harbor Township waste hauler’s dumping – Breaking News

test4Waste hauler property

This is a long but insightful article on an illegal waste facility and a NJ legal system that failed to do anything about it for the last 20 years.  Citizens are uninformed and unaware of regulations for waste and waste haulers all over the country.  Here at the RA we will be starting a project to help change how people (don’t) see C&D waste.  It’s called the Drop Box Brigade, and we hope something as simple as a picture will inspire community involvement in C&D waste disposal.  Ironically, the waste hauler is called “Magic Disposal”. Not so ironically, I was born about twenty miles from this site.

By WALLACE McKELVEY Staff Writer |

Atlantic County is seeking a court ruling to stop an Egg Harbor Township waste hauler from operating an alleged illegal solid waste facility off the Black Horse Pike.

A complaint filed last month accuses Steven Waszen, who operated Magic Disposal until January 2010, of dumping solid waste and hazardous materials, including asbestos, and maintaining a public health nuisance at the property he owns at 2520 Tremont Ave. in the Cardiff section of the township.

On May 20, a county Division of Public Health inspection revealed 99 solid waste containers, two of which contained asbestos; an estimated two yards of construction and demolition debris; a 10-foot-high pile of scrap tires; leachate — or liquid discharge — forming puddles on the ground; and a trash compactor truck emitting “foul odors and draining foul leachate onto the ground” at the site.

When inspectors returned July 14, they reported finding 106 solid waste containers and a “very strong odor” of garbage. The asbestos material, leachate and scrap tires remained on the property, while the trash compactor had been removed.

This is not the first time Waszen has been connected to such allegations.

In 2007, the state Department of Environmental Protection imposed a $700,000 fine — which, according to the DEP, has never been paid — against the company for violations at its now-closed Ridge Avenue facility, which Waszen operated from 1996 to 2005. Two years later, the department banned Waszen from the solid waste industry and revoked Magic Disposal’s certificate to operate a solid waste facility, or Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

After protracted legal battles, both decisions were upheld by state Superior Court.

In December, the DEP also excluded Waszen and Magic Disposal from most recycling activities in the state, a decision DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said has not been appealed.

Waszen could not be reached for comment. Attorneys who have represented Waszen in the past declined to comment or did not respond to messages.

Officials at the local, county and state level say it is difficult to prosecute Waszen or to enforce the judgments that have already been made.

“He gets fined, then there’s a court order we’ve got to collect and, if he doesn’t pay, we’re back in court again,” County Executive Dennis Levinson said.

Magic Disposal also owes Egg Harbor Township more than $4.3 million in fines for failing to obtain building permits for a garage at its Ridge Avenue complex.

Although technically that figure has continued to grow in the absence of payment, Township Administrator Peter Miller said building officials stopped calculating the fines in 2010. Miller said the legal costs to bring Waszen to court would be greater than the partial amount a judge would likely award the township.

With the Ridge Avenue facility closed and the county now prosecuting Waszen for his Tremont Avenue facility, Miller said the point is moot.

“Their issue is more significant than ours over whether he got the proper permit in a timely fashion,” he said.

Levinson said it is frustrating that the county and the DEP’s enforcement efforts are constantly hampered by court appeals.

“We do what the law allows us to do,” he said. “If what we’re doing isn’t sufficient, then that’s up to the state Legislature to make laws that will allow us to proceed in a more timely fashion.”

Rick Dovey, president of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, said Magic Disposal has been a well-known problem operator for 20 years. It’s one of the few remaining companies that makes skirting the law a “consistent method of operation,” he said.

“I just know if ACUA or any other public entity were to do that, we would be noticed and fined appropriately, and quickly,” he said.

One issue, Dovey said, is that most people aren’t familiar with the regulations for waste haulers.

“Most businesses don’t even know they’re supposed to be licensed,” he said. “If somebody has a trash truck and says, ‘This is how much I’ll charge you,’ they won’t ask to see your license.”

The county’s action came as a surprise to most of the Tremont Avenue facility’s neighbors.

Dan Wilhelm, 55, who lives behind the facility on Windsor Drive, said he has not heard or smelled anything from the site since the owners erected a mound of dirt, which acts as a sound barrier, nearly a decade ago. Before then, there was a near-constant odor emanating from the lot and regular truck traffic.

If the owner has continued dumping on the site, Wilhelm said, he’s glad the county has stepped forward to prosecute.

“They got to stay on that stuff — not just him, but all of them,” he said.

Aside from the occasional smell, especially during the summer, neighbor Eliezer Echevarria, 52, said he has not had any recent problems with Waszen. “If you came here 18 years ago, it’d be a different story,” he said.

The Ridge Avenue facility, which is not subject to the complaint, is similarly quiet.

Neighbor Calvin Tureaud, 54, said there has been little activity for about two years. Gone is the stench of decay wafting in the breeze and the armada of trash trucks before 5 a.m., he said.

The legal system worked for his neighborhood, at least, Tureaud said.

“We had to put up with it for years and years until the neighbors got together and said ‘enough is enough,’” he said. “We had to go to Town Hall and to the freeholders and board meetings, but it finally worked.”

When the facility did close, Tureaud said it happened nearly overnight.

“Nobody notified us first. They just started to pack up,” he said.

Contact Wallace McKelvey:


via Atlantic County seeks halt to Egg Harbor Township waste hauler’s dumping – Breaking News.