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LTT - June 2023 - Deconstruction vs Demolition

If you’ve seen an excavator smash apart an old house on a lot slated for development, perhaps you took a second to bemoan the waste. Demolition is the total destruction of a structure, building or property and, surprisingly, it remains the most common practice in the construction industry today. Thankfully, more municipalities, like Victoria and Metro Vancouver, are recognizing the importance of the much less wasteful practice of deconstruction.

Some communities are leading the way forward. Recently, the Nanaimo Regional District (NRD)  released a Construction Waste Best Practices Guide to help reduce and divert waste and improve environmental performance. Its goal is to divert 90% of waste from the landfill by 2030. The helpful guide features deconstruction and salvaging practices, material reuse, recycling and procurement regulations.

Encouraging and even requiring deconstruction practices will go a long way to reducing the 4 million tonnes of construction, renovation and demolition waste that is generated annually in Canada. 37% of that waste includes salvageable old growth lumber, windows, cabinetry, copper piping, appliances and plumbing fixtures.

In a typical deconstruction 70% of materials could be recycled and 25% reused, meaning only 5% is actually waste. Developers who deconstruct can receive federal and provincial tax credits for materials donated, making deconstruction costs comparative and often more cost effective than demolition.

Deconstruction companies aim to retain and attract top talent in a highly competitive industry while supporting local job creation. For every job created through demolition, six are created through deconstruction. Unbuilders, Canada’s foremost deconstruction and salvage company, is leading the way in dis-mantling and salvaging of buildings – diverting nearly 100% from the landfill.

Deconstruction, though initially taking longer rewards the patient by setting aside items to be sold and donated. Because of this, returns on the initial deconstruction investment can be good.

Some recyclables from deconstruction projects are already banned from landfills including clean, treated and salvageable wood, and asphalt shingles. These things already have robust re-use and recycling markets available to receive them.

Homes built before the 1950’s are the best candidates for deconstruction because they contain a more significant quantity of high quality building materials and old growth lumber. Old growth wood is actually three times stronger than standard lumber, has twelve times less embodied carbon, is tight grained and beautiful and is now a scarce resource. 11% of homes in the NRD were built before the 1960’s.

Our regional district, qathet, doesn’t yet have any deconstruction incentives in place but once the coming Resource Recovery Centre (learn more at is in action in Powell River there will at least be a place to divert recovered materials to.

If the False Bay School is indeed slated for tear down, Lasquetians and the earth would both benefit from following deconstruction rather than demolition practices. This might be something we have to advocate for. 

Island Trash Removal: On the second Wednesday of the month, June 14th, from 10 am until the barge is full - at the False Bay barge ramp.  Any changes due to weather will be post-ed on the email list, FB Lasqueti Hotwire, and the Lasqueti website. No con-struction materials, renovation or demolition waste, prohibited waste, organ-ics, recyclable material or stewardship materials. $7.50 per bag. $37.50 for a truckload. Mattresses and boxsprings $15 each. Please call Mark is you have any questions about what constitutes acceptable garbage.

Recycling Depot: Fall/Winter Hours  Apr 1st-Sep 30th

  • Mon 10 am – 5 pm, Thursdays 10 am - 5 pm


Closed on Statutory Holidays. All recycling is monitored. Please bring it CLEAN and DRY and SORTED.

Free Store: Fall/Winter Hours  Apr 1st-Sep 30th

  • Monday 10 am – 2 pm and Thursday 1 - 5 pm


Please respect the signs. Drop donations during open hours so they can be quarantined. Outstanding items only, i.e. clean, usable clothing and household items. Please, NO food, garbage, recycling, TV’s, soft foam, batteries, electrical devices, mattresses or hazardous materials, ie: chemicals, fluorescent light tubes, prescription/non-prescription drugs, or pills in general. There are recycling programs on Vancouver Island for many of these materials.

Recycle BC Website:

Return-It Beverage Depot open 24/7 Front left of Free Store. Open 24/7.


Front left of the Free Store. No refundable glass (beer, wine, hard liquor) bottles, please take these to the nearest Return-It Beverage depot yourself.  Yes to aluminum beer, cider, pop cans, coconut water cans, boxed wine cartons (leave them intact) and tetra juice packs, including (rinsed) milk and milk substitute containers. Please leave the caps on and push the straws in and do not crush containers. Labels can be left on.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions for me and the qRD Let’s Talk Trash team, please get in touch. or 8601

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