A machine crushing big chucks of concrete spews out mini mountains of smaller bits ready for resale.
St. Petersburg, Florida — In 1967, the original All Children’s Hospital rose from the ground and now that building is coming down.
But the teardown that began last fall is not so simple. The same facility that saved young lives is actually being saved itself-consider it a giant recycling project.
“The salvage value offsets the cost of demoing the hospital, but we also think it’s the right thing to do,” says All Children’s V.P. of Facilities Tim Strouse about the “green” demolition process.
So on this project, after the contractor Sonny Glasbrenner knocks down walls and fills trucks with debris, the trucks don’t head to the landfill. Instead, they roll into an affiliated company called Greenway Recycling. The goal at this Pinellas business is to get the “all” out of All Children’s.
“We’ve been able to bring everything back here and recover about 80 percent of the material that came out of the demolition,” says Greenway’s Pate Clements.
And salvaging that material is quite the process. Inside a big warehouse, trucks dump items perhaps scraped away from the interior of a building. Then giant machines shake and sift it into various sizes and finally workers alongside a conveyor belt pick out anything that can be recycled. Piles of metal, plastic, paper and wood will eventually be sold.
Outside, mini mountains of concrete from demolished buildings rise from the yard. There machines crush big chunks of concrete into little chunks.
That material is then resold. It’s often used to build roads, like the ongoing improvements to U.S. 19. So it’s quite possible a family rushing their child to the new All Children’s Hospital could travel on a piece of the old one.
Hospital officials say there are no immediate plans to build on the old hospital’s lot; so for now, once this green demolition is complete, the area will become a green space.