by Diana Barnum, Correspondent
"A Findorff worker dumps a wagon full of scrap wood into the wood
J. H. Findorff and Son, Inc., of Madison, WI, are so committed to the
reduction of construction site waste in their state, that they formed a
Along with the Overture Development Corporation, WasteCap
Wisconsin and the Madison Environmental Group, they are deconstructing an
entire city block for the creation of the Overture Center for the Arts, a
new arts district in Madison, WI.
Efforts for Phase I of the facility,
targeted to open mid-2004, have been so successful that Wisconsin Governor
Scott McCallum awarded them a grant.
The team removed seven buildings.
Approximately 74 percent of the debris by weight from the original work
site was recycled or reused. “Less than 12-20% is what usually gets
saved,” said Larry Thomas, senior project manager at J.H. Findorff and
Findorff and Sons, founded in 1890, is recognized as one of
the largest construction companies in the Midwest and one of the oldest
successful construction companies in the nation. With more than 500
employees today and completing more than $100 million in projects
annually, notable projects include the Anchor Savings and Loan Building on
Capitol Square, the Hilldale Shopping Center and the Froedtert Memorial
Lutheran Hospital. And for Findorff and fellow team members, part of being
a community leader is being responsible to the environment. So instead of
sending waste to landfills, materials are saved for future use or donated
to Habitat for Humanity, the New Goodwill Industries, Saint Vincent de
Paul, Design Coalition, and other community organizations.
project is going very well and exceeding our expectations,” said Sonya
Newenhouse, Ph.D., president of Madison Environmental Group, Inc. “With
minimal guidance and signage the large volume items such as concrete,
wood, metal and cardboard are being recycled. Thus far no loads have been
In just the past couple of months, recycled items
Susie is an important connection at the Overture site because she
collects and helps monitor recycling of cans and bottles and
Photos courtesy of Sonya Newenhouse
• 36 tons of wood
• 112 tons of concrete
• 80 yards of
They also recycle cans, bottles, cardboard, plan drafting paper,
plastic, glass, drywall, masonry, stone, plastic foam and aluminum.
“Concrete is being hauled by Green Valley Disposal to Wingra Stone Company
which is grinding it into 1/4 inch recycled concrete screening. Wood is
being hauled to Mobile Pallet who recycles the resource into landscape
mulch. The Peltz Group is recycling the paper and cardboard and Waste
Management is hauling the metal for recycling,” explained Newenhouse.
“Madison Environmental Group, Inc, specifically Amanda Fuller, is managing
the waste and recycling for Findorff via WasteCap Wisconsin.”
Overture Project represents one of Wisconsin’s first demonstration grants
for a recycling project in a compact downtown site.
awarded the team a Waste Reduction and Recycling Demonstration Grant from
the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for $78, 416. This grant program
provides $500,000 annually for new cost-effective strategies that create
public awareness of municipal, commercial and industrial waste reduction,
reuse and recycling through demonstration projects at construction
Past award recipients have included schools, non-profit
organizations, public entities, Wisconsin counties and municipalities and
other local businesses. Since the program began, more than $10.7 million
has been awarded to about 150 projects.
WasteCap Wisconsin reported
profit from the project in the Green Building Report, “Finding A Future
for Old Buildings.” Between cost avoidance and outright sale of materials,
the project accrued a net savings or profit of $28,000. A facade of an old
bank still up for sale is not included in this figure.
With the cost of
landfill space rising as availability of space falls, an average tipping
fee is around $40 per ton today. Fees of $50 and $60 per ton, even as high
as $100 are not uncommon either. One commercial building can generate 155
pounds of debris per square foot. So finding cost-effective strategies is
a win-win situation not only for the environment, but for contractors and
“We link together waste source and end users,” said
Richard Moen, executive director for WasteCap. “WasteCap has had several
projects like that to help develop the market. We identify useable
building components and get someone to take facilitating materials
For more information about the award winning team, contact
Madison Environmental Group, Inc. at 22 North Carroll Street, Suite 310,
Madison, WI 53703. Call: (608) 280-0800, or fax inquiries to: (608)
280-8108. E-mail inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
online at www.madisonenvironmental.com. WasteCap Wisconsin is located at
2647 N. Stowell Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53211-4299. Call: (414) 961-1100, or
fax inquiries to: (414) 961-1105, or visit online at www.wastecapwi.org.
J.H. Findorff and Son, Inc. is at 300 S. Bedford St., Madison, WI 53703.
Call: (608) 257-5321, or fax inquiries to: (608) 257-5306, or visit at