Recycling or Disposing of Concrete & Wood

Parent Q&A

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  • Where to donate scrap wood?

    (2 replies)

    We have a lot of odds and ends of wood leftover from various projects - all kinds of sizes and types of wood.  Is there a school woodshop, adventure playground, or other organization or individual who could use it? It sounds from their website like the Berkeley Adventure Playground doesn't need any donations right now (but let me know if you know otherwise).  Please let me know if you have any leads.  We'd be happy to drop off and/or let people pick and choose what they can use.  Thanks!

    It sounds like your wood scraps would be PERFECT for "fairy doors!" These are the teeny little faux doors that people have been placing in the bottom of trees. I belong to a "fairy doors" Facebook page in Alameda that has over 1000 members and people in our area use the site to give away wood scraps for this purpose. People love both making the doors and finding them (the Alameda group even publishes a map) so you would be helping a fun cause. I don't know where you live, but you might try that group or else in your neighborhood. Here's a link to the Facebook group: 

    If you can describe it in categories (like one grocery bag of 2x4 scraps, varied lengths), try posting on freecycle, craiglist, or the BPN Marketplace.  You might also be able to donate some of it to the Creative Reuse Depot  on Telegraph Ave- though they don't take everything.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Recycling old brick and concrete

Dec 2010

My husband and I are planning to re-landscape our backyard ourselves, which will include ripping out landscape walls and a patio made of old brick. We really don't want to send this material to the landfill. The bricks are set in mortar so I don't think they can be easily re-used. Is there any where that recycles brick? anon

You can donate them to Urban Ore in Berkeley, they will happily sell them. Recycler

Craigslist ''free'' catagory. Freecycle Oakland or Berkeley. A sign and a pile in front of your house if you live on or near a busy street. Check with Urban Ore or the Habitat for Humanity Store to see if they will take your materials, and if not, who might. No need to send it to the dump!

Breaking up an old concrete pad

Oct 2007

We are thinking about breaking up our old concrete pad. While we do not wish to add to landfill with the unusable concrete, we wonder how expensive/labor intensive it is to cut up concrete and try to reuse it building material for a planter box or as pavers. Is it worth the expensive to try to reuse old concrete? Any recommendations/thoughts/regrets from folks out there who have done the ''right'' thing and recycled their concrete? Signed,
-Trying to do the right thing for Mother Earth

To send your concrete to the dump, you will still have to break it up, pay to transport it, and pay a large dumping fee. If you can reuse it in your landscape you will definitely save money and reduce unnecessary waste in the landfill.

For ideas on how to reuse concrete in landscaping, check and look for Bay Friendly Gardening. There will be some design ideas and referrals to landscapers who use this material. Bay Friendly Gardener

Hi, We reused the concrete from our yard to make 2 large planters in our back yard, partly because of the desire to ''reuse'', but also out of a need to save money. Dumping concrete is EXPENSIVE! You pay by the pound and it would have cost us over a thousand dollars to dump our load. Recycling your concrete into a planter or pavers will not only be the ''right'' thing, but also the cheaper thing. We did all of the work ourselves, so we did save some expense there. I may have some pic's of them if you are interested, or you could come by to see them too. cris

You can certainly use the ''nicest looking'' pieces of a broken concrete pad to fashion a new walkway, but you will likely have extra -- or you might just want to get rid of it all. In either case, a responsible way to get rid of it would be to deliver it (or have someone haul it for you) to the Syar concrete recycling facility at the West County Landfill in Richmond. Depending on supply and demand for the ground up concrete roadbase they manufacture, you may be able to just drop it off for free. Call them at (510) 215-4949. P.S. If you hire someone to haul it for you, make sure they are licensed as this is the type of thing that ''a dude with a pickup truck'' often ends up pocketing the cash and illegallying dumping the material on vacant lots. Steve

We used recycled concrete for most of a very long retaining wall. Part of what we used came from our yard but mostly it was scavenged from construction sites and projects like yours. Here is what we learned. It is a lot of work - concrete is heavy and bulky. The wall is about 2 feet thick - no matter since it is a retaining wall but I can't imagine making planters out of concrete. Stepping stones seems a better idea - or even a walkway with elfin thyme planted in between to fill the spaces. NO matter how you use it, you will need to take care when you break up your concrete - the larger the pieces the better, then you can break them again into smaller ones as needed. Pieces that are relatively flat on the bottom, not lumpy, are easier to work with.

When concrete is taken to Waste Management, my impression is that it is ground up and mixed with asphalt for roads, not landfilled. They generally take it free of charge (hauling the stuff in another story). hope that helps

Here's our recent experience with concrete. Our project involved about 10+ tons (from our small backyard!) and we broke/hauled it all ourselves.

We didn't consider cutting but found with two people you can break it somewhat accurately by having one person pry it up with a landscape bar and the other hit it at the point you want it to break with a sledge. Eye protection recommended. Not exact, but... I read that cutting is expensive if you hire someone or rent the cutter because the diamond tip blade needs replacing often.

We didn't have a use for the quantities available onsite so we hauled it to the richmond dump where on Saturdays ''clean concrete'' can be dumped at a special recycling location for free (no dump fees). The real name is the West Contra Costa County Landfill or something like that. I called a recycler in Oakland but they would have charged a fair amount for us to drop it with them.

I didn't try getting rid of it on craigslist free (someone told me if you call it ''urbanite'' there's a demand for it - I'm dubious) - but we did get rid of lots of bricks and lumber that way. It might be possible to recycle some this way.

Best is if you can use it at your own site, but if you decide not to, maybe our experiences will be of interest... - Charis

Need to remove part of our driveway

March 2007

I am looking for someone to break up and cart away a large section of my 4 inch thick concrete driveway -- I would like to put a vegetable garden in its place. I think someone could accomplish it with a crowbar and sledge hammer or a jackhammer. Thanks! Garden Happy

We recently removed the concrete from our driveway to install a brick patio for entertainment. The four-inch concrete removal was easier than anticipated and my husband did it by himself with a sledge hammer. We found that you can dispose of the concrete for free at the Richmond landfill site on Saturdays between 9:00 and 2:00 p.m. Over the course of several weekends we managed to remove the all the concrete and dispose of it. Good luck. Lisa

Hauling off concrete

March 2003

I would like information about concrete removal and disposal. We have a pile of broken up concrete from a patio and would like to find someone to remove it for us. Does anyone know of someone who provides a service like this? Where do they take it? What is the range of cost? Susie

Someone might want to take it away for you for free (maybe even someone from this list). Broken concrete can make great informal paths, patios, and small garden walls. You could put a sign up at your house offering it & see what happens. Cfl