Construction waste recycling program underway in San Antonio

New deconstruction program aims to cut landfill waste

SAN ANTONIO – For the past two years, the City of San Antonio has received 25,000 pounds of materials at its Material Innovation Center to be reused in other construction projects instead of ending up in landfills.

Shanon Miller, director of the Office of Historic Preservation, oversees the city’s newest Deconstruction and Circular Economy Program, which started in 2022.

“The Material Innovation Center is really intended to be the last stop before the landfill for materials,” Miller said. “That is really intended to prevent this high-quality material from going to the landfill. We then have the material available for the city’s affordable housing projects and for our workforce development programming.”

The San Antonio City Council approved a change requiring older historic buildings to be deconstructed instead of demolished to allow the materials to be repurposed. The city is currently using the materials in projects and working with UTSA architecture students to find new ways to use them.

“Historic buildings were built with very high-quality wood, old growth. So a lot of the framing materials — even doors, windows, other types of, a lot of wood — obviously that type of material can go into other historic homes,” Miller said. “That’s really about reuse and reimagining and doing as much as we can with the material before it ends its life. And that helps us reduce, as a community, our dependence on new material and also helps us manage what’s going into the waste stream.”

The material is not for general public use yet, but the goal is to get the community to begin exploring ways to reduce, reuse and recycle construction material.

About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Santiago Esparza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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