Construction & Demolition Recycling


Construction and demolition waste is generated by new construction activities, expansion of existing structures, and/or demolition of existing structures.

Landfill space is an important and expensive resource that can be conserved by recycling construction and demolition (C&D) materials. C&D recycling saves landfill space and often saves you money!

In an effort to divert C&D debris generated at local projects, the City requires applicants for demolition and building permits to divert at least 75% of the waste generated on site. The debris must be brought to a recycling or salvage facility, reused on site, or donated to others. The City of La Mesa will collect a deposit based on the square footage and type of project that is planned. A full refund will be provided if 75% of the C&D debris is diverted from landfills.

Check out the video below for an overview of C&D deposit, material tracking, and refund process.

Common Construction & Demolition Materials

  • Cardboard
  • Carpet
  • Dirt
  • Drywall
  • Green Waste related to land development
  • Lumber
  • Masonry (brick, concrete, etc.)
  • Metals
  • Paper
  • Pipe (plastic, metal, clay)
  • Plastic
  • Rocks 

Salvage and Deconstruction

Did you know that up to 85 percent of a building’s materials can often be salvaged or reused? Deconstruction, in contrast to demolition, uses a mix of machines and hand-dismantling to recover materials – such as appliances, windows, doors, and plumbing – for reuse.  By keeping these items intact and salvaging them for reuse, homeowners and contractors can divert materials from the landfill and save thousands of dollars on landfill fees. If items are donated to a non-profit, there’s potential for even more savings!

How does it work? When starting a project, homeowners and contractors can work with a licensed deconstruction contractor to complete an assessment and identify materials suitable for salvage. The deconstruction contractor will then carefully dismantle the home and salvage any valuable items. Depending on how the building was built and how materials were secured will determine the systematic disassembly of the building and the cost-effectiveness of the deconstruction process. 

As you plan a home or business renovation, consider the social, environmental and financial advantages of deconstructing over demolishing. 

Four reasons you should consider deconstruction: 

  • Tax donations are available for usable building materials donated to nonprofits organizations.
  • Most used building materials have value – don’t let it go to waste!
  • Landfill space is decreasing and disposal costs are rising. 
  • Deconstruction gives families, businesses and communities the opportunity to acquire materials inexpensively.

Asbestos Disposal

What is Asbestos?Asbestos Information Graphic Opens in new window

Asbestos is a mineral made of fibers commonly found in matter such as insulation, construction materials, and brake waste. When disturbed by actions such as home repair and remodeling, demolition, or product use, fibers can be released. These fibers can be inhaled and can lead to major health concerns such as cancer and inflammation.

Proper Disposal

Trained professionals must handle materials with these fibers. They will be rinsed and double-bagged in a specific bag. This bag is then placed in a leak-proof container and properly labeled and sealed to be sent to specific landfills made for these products. Creating new ways to recycle by heating the hazardous materials and sometimes including a sodium hydroxide solution to produce a nonhazardous glass product, ceramic bricks, or porcelain tiles. These recycling efforts reduce waste by 50-99%. For more information, visit this Guide to Handling, Disposing and Recycling Asbestos here or view the EPA's Asbestos Webpage here on how to take the next steps in handling and testing for asbestos. If you have any other hazardous household items, you can investigate how to dispose of them at

Related Documents

Related Sites

Building Materials Reuse Association

San Diego Habitat for Humanity

The Reuse People (TRP)