Besides coming in roughly $30,000 below budget, the demolition of the decommissioned Wellesley Municipal Light Plant Administrative Building can claim leadership in another area: recycling. Through the course of its deconstruction and the removal of its constructs,98.5% of materials were recycled.
The planned recycling of the materials making up the previous WMLP Administrative Building dates back to 2014, when the necessary funds were approved as part of the FY15 Capital Plan. The demolition and recycling was completed by J.R. Vinagro Corporation, which separates and recycles materials from demolished buildings in their Rhode Island facility.
“When no other Town board or department expressed an interest in the MLP’s old administration building the [Municipal Light Plant] Board authorized the staff to achieve three objectives during the demolition process,” said Debra Healy, Assistant Director of the MLP. “These were full compliance with hazardous material remediation requirements, maximizing financial benefits of competitive bids, and ensuring the demolition request for proposal (RFP) placed a premium on recycling.”
Materials recycled included “dirty” concrete, mixed metals, steel beams, and other mixed debris material. The combined weight of the recycled materials totaled 1,926.24 tons.
The MLP project is not the first demolition job in Wellesley to receive praise for its embedded reuse and recycle processes. When the 1938 high school was demolished in 2012, a long list of items were carried over from the old building into the new one, ranging from wooden and granite benches to bricks and stone government seals. Hosta plants were transplanted off site and the ropes course that sat where the current high school sits was sold to Holliston High School for one dollar. Various building materials were separated elsewhere, totaling a 93% recycling rate.
Recycling building materials is rapidly becoming more common, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, due to an estimated 170 million tons of waste produced nationally from construction and renovation over the course of one year.