Use the information on this page to learn about how and where to recycle construction waste, as well as how to deal with special issues such as toxic substances. This page covers:
Take Action Before You Start
• Ask your contractor what materials will be used and which ones are recyclable.
• Can any of the materials be purchased from reuse or salvage facilities such as the RE Store?
• Hire a hauler, ask your garbage collection company about recycling opportunities, or haul it yourself to a legally permitted disposal site, drop box, or facility.
• Set up enough space ahead of time for recycling.
• Find out if the recyclables can be commingled or if they need to be separated (depends on how/what you will recycle).
The Whatcom County Health Department offers free consulting and technical assistance regarding reuse, recycling, or disposal of construction and demolition debris. For assistance call 360-676-6724.
Reuse & Salvage Facilities
Non-profit with licensed salvage and demolition crew. Accepts a wide range of used building materials for resale to the public. Donated material is tax-deductible. Pick-up and removal available.
Robinson Recycled Building Materials
Demolition contractor salvages and accepts selected reusable materials from demolition sites.
Hazardous Waste Products
Disposal of oil-based paint, paint thinner, mercury switches, and related hazardous construction materials in the garbage is not safe for humans or the environment, and in some cases is illegal.
Here are some recommendations from Whatcom County’s Disposal of Toxics Program:
Paint Thinner and Turpentine
Reuse as much as possible. After pouring off clear thinner into a clean, labeled container for reuse, reseal the remaining sludge and dispose of unusable liquid or solids at the Disposal of Toxics facility (directions below).
Usable Latex (Never frozen, still flowable)
Deliver usable products to the ReStore for reuse. The ReStore is a non-profit organization that sells usable latex paint (2309 Meridian St. - 15 gallon limit). Call first: 360-647-5921.
-Unusable Latex (Solid, previously frozen, rusty, near empty )
Add equal amount of cat box litter (or sawdust, ashes, concrete, or “paint hardener” available where paint is sold) to absorb the paint. Once it is non-flowable, it can be placed in the garbage with the lid off. NO LIQUID PAINT IN THE GARBAGE.
Oil-based paints and stains , Strippers, Preservatives, other Stains & Varnishes
Dispose at the Disposal of Toxics (see information below).
Take remaining hazardous materials, including mercury switches, roofing tar, construction adhesives, caulks, resins, fluorescent tubes, paint-stripper residues, rags contaminated with paint solvents, and lead based-paint chips to Disposal of Toxics (call first for more information and prior-approval).
Disposal of Toxics
3505 Airport Drive, Bellingham
(one block west of the airport entrance)
Open Monday — Friday from 9 am - 4 pm
First Saturday of every month 9 am - 4 pm
For more information about Disposal of Toxics, click here.
Commercial Construction Recycling
SSC offers construction waste recycling bins for job sites. For more information, click here.
Click here for a list of local businesses that accept construction waste.
For a printable brochure containing the information on this page, click here.
(For best results, print double sided on 11"X17" paper. Some pages appear upside-down to ensure proper orientation when folded.)