CRI FAQ May-8-12

Frequent Questions & Answers

May 10th, 2012

Founding an advocacy and education organization for immense industry transformation, with innovative concepts, as one can imagine, raises many questions. Therefore, in an attempt to continue to raise interest, in this document, you will find the answers for the most frequently asked questions:

What was the Construction Resource Initiatives Council (CRI Council) established for?

In a few words: Eliminating the concept of building waste

Building waste is a growing and complex issue, loaded with as many challenges as opportunities for the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors, which cannot be dealt with, simply as a category within a building rating system, or end of cycle regulations. It is a multi-dimensional issue, which will require a multi-dimensional solution, where ALL, including the public, have a role to play. The CRI Council was established to build a wide ranging body of knowledge, to better understand these issues and come up with pragmatic, non-partisan initiatives, leading to solutions, which when combined will have a profound impact on social behavior, and setting an example for other industries; making sustainability, sustainable.

What is different about the CRI Council in comparison to green building council?

Our integrated approach is what really makes the CRI Council unique. That said, our successes will help all green building councils, resource protection NGO’s and all levels of governments, in their work.

Organization’s Name: What is the organization’s name background?

The organization’s name in part come from when it was focused on a regional drywall recycling issue, prior to becoming a legal entity, then the ‘Construction Recycling Initiatives Task Group’. As acronyms seem to be part of our new language, people quickly adopted the CRI Task Group. However, while we would always speak and document the importance of the 1st ‘R’s (Reduce & Reuse) and the discussions would often evolve into other building materials or resource issues (natural, financial or human), as well as the intent to eliminating the concept of waste by identifying it as a resource, it was incorporated as the ‘Construction Resource Initiatives Council’.

The Construction part of the title was maintained to express the organization’s focus, which is, in itself, a much wider net to cast than most might imagine.

While consideration has been given to a name change, to facilitate engaging all stakeholders, among other reasons, it was unanimously agreed to leave it as is, since it expressed our focus. The use of the acronym CRI Council keeps it brief and the addition of a tag line ‘’eliminating the concept of building waste’’ will help outreach to other primary or secondary sectors.

Focus:   What is the CRI Council’s focus?

The focus of the CRI Council is in general terms advocacy through education of ‘Building Resource Efficiency’ which in view of it’s immense complexities, and the CRI Council’s limited resources, are planned to be prioritized as follows; while keeping our holistic and integrated approach and always watchful for greenwashing or contamination through recycling practices:

  1. Eliminating construction, renovation and demolition wasted resources (aka: C&D waste)
  2. From site
  3. From building product manufacturer facilities, distributors or retailers – Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR’s)
    1. Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) Operations resource conservancy
    2. Advocacy for the research and development of more efficient building resources and services for the recovery of IC&I wasted resources

Special attention will be given to building materials made from those studied in UNEP’s ‘’Decoupling Natural Resource use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth’’ April 2011 report, which forms an important part of the larger ‘Green Economy Report’

‘’The report focuses on the extraction of four categories of primary raw materials- construction minerals, ores, and industrial minerals, fossil fuels and biomass – which together are estimated to be harvested at a rate of 47 to 59 billion metric tons per year (2005 data), with continued increases into the future a clear tendency…’’ 

What is the Mission 2030 Accord?

Mission 2030 is a call to action to change how we view and deal with building resources. In it’s initial plan, it aims to eliminate construction, renovation and demolition (C&D) waste/resources to landfill by 2030.

It is important to note that while the desire has been expressed to raise the bar to include all industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) waste/resources, of which C&D is a stream of, this will only be considered later on, once the Mission 2030 is well under way and demonstrating clear evidence of great success.

Mission 2030: Why a global challenge?

Resources bring very different challenges than buildings, which, with a few rare exceptions, will stay put for the life of the building. Resources on the other hand could be extracted in one country, be processed or assembled in another, to be installed in a 3rd country, and often end up being reused, recycled or in the landfill of a fourth one. Some building materials, which have many components, the numbers of countries involved can be even greater than this. Simply put, resources are internationally traded at the raw, processed and wasted stages, and are part of a countries economical development. So we not only have to deal with codes, standards, guidelines, or practices, but we have to deal with, the realities of trade (import/export), transportation and economical development, which alone are huge issues around resources.

International affairs, including trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have also found to be an important barrier in the reduction of industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) waste, partly due to the low tipping fees in the northern US compared to those in Canada. While Michigan US Senator Debbie Stabenow tabled the ‘Stop Canadian Act’ to address the Canadian IC&I waste (including C&D) dumping in Michigan landfills, it appears doubtful this would pass – though this time presented much differently than in the past. Therefore, working closely with Michigan, to either providing valuable information on the opportunities and challenges coming from the building industry, or proposing an even more effective alternative.

We are part of a global economy, environment and society with social media as our strongest tool for carrying the message. Inspiring and motivating each other, learning from leading countries and organizations, could go a long way to fast forwarding the creation of solutions to industry transformation and the careless dumping in other countries.

In September 2012, Mission 2030 was recently extremely well received at the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) in Niagara Falls, ON; and will be presented at the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), in collaboration with UNEP, in Florence Italy. The selection of our submittal amongst countless others, for the education path at this congress, and the congress themes reaffirms that our global approach and concept are not only timely, but they are accurate. “The World Solid Waste Congress 2012 will define the effectiveness of the waste management industry for years to come.”  Overview of the congress themes, which are clearly aligned with the core principles of the CRI Council are

  • Climate Change and Waste Management
  • Zero Waste and waste Prevention Policies
  • International Waste Trade
  • Economically Developing Countries
  • Specific Waste Crisis
  • Management and impact of urban hygiene in cities

Theme overview can be viewed at: http://www.iswa2012.org/congress-themes/

Does Mission 2030 need to be an ‘Accord’?

While there is a degree of debate about creating a formal accord for Mission 2030, understanding the following adopted definition and intent are important to alleviate concerns.

Oxford definition of Accord (of a concept of fact): be harmonious or consistent with

Word origin: Old English, from Old French accorder ‘reconcile, be of one mind’, from          Latin ad- ‘to’+cor, cord- ‘heart’; influenced by concord

Having a written accord is important for a number of reasons, such as, but not limited to:

  • Express what Mission 2030 is
  • Identify industry leaders, or those seeking leadership
  • Inspire and motivate, NOT obligate
  • Provide a positive language, in comparison to ‘challenge’
  • Reflect that we need to integrate, communicate and work together
  • Send a strong message to regulators
  • Help fund the education program
  • Identify the Canadian Design/Build Industry as a positive and creative change agent

It is important to note that the Mission 2030 Accord will be a non-binding agreement, and that there would be no liability to not meeting the target dates. While the final details have yet to be finalized, signing onto the Mission 2030 Accord would simply be a public Memorandum of Understanding, of an organization’s or individual’s:

  • harmonious or consistent intent to eliminate the concept of building waste
  • mindset, which is aligned with the CRI Council’s core principles
  • agreement to provide support, to the extent possible (financially, professionally, technically, voluntarily or otherwise), the development and implementation of the CRI Council’s learner-centered education concept, to meet the objective of Mission 2030.

Still to be confirmed are the following – likely, or at least partly, be pending on our 1st and/or prime partner(s) or sponsor(s):

  • the baseline point
  • simple yet effective measurement and verification method
  • acknowledgement or recognition
  • where will the agreement, and spring or fall of 2013.

The CRI Council could not be held any more liable, should it not meet its objective of eliminating construction, renovation or demolition waste to landfill by 2030, than its Mission 2030 participants could be for failing to support the CRI Council.

How is Mission 2030 even possible when the volume of IC&I is increasing in many countries, including Canada?

Mission 2030 will only be possible through intense industry as well as public advocacy and education. But not just any type of education. The CRI Council approach for these two critical elements for change are described in the pedagogy ‘Science-in-Architecture’.

What is Science-in-Architecture?

Science-in-Architecture was the name given to the CRI Council’s education program concept, which is intended for the masses, to learn about the industrial, commercial and institutional waste stream, their impacts and possible solutions. While the name is now being set aside and reserved for an advance architectural module, within the CRI Council’s pedagogy (the holistic science of education; the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept)…

  • the objective of eliminating the concept of building waste; to succeed in Mission 2030
  • the integrated approach
  • the need to be generic, easily accessible and aligned with UNEP’s Guidelines for Education on Sustainable Development, etc…all remain the same

The program will be developed and implemented in phases, which are as follows – and be defined in the Curriculum and/or Syllabus:

  1. Phase 1: for industry

1.1.  Design/build & waste hauling sectors, for best practices in

1.1.1.     On site waste management planning

1.1.2.     Material purchasing

1.1.3.     Project delivery method

1.1.4.     Regulations

  1. Phase 2: for post-secondary students
  2. Phase 3: for public
  3. Phase 4: for secondary students – making sustainability sustainable

The CRI Council program will also be developed and implemented the ‘learner-centered education’ principles.

Learner-Centered Education: What is a Learner-Centered Education?

Very simply put, a ‘learner-centered’ education could be described, in part, as aligned with the principles of an ‘integrated-design process’ which maximizes the synergies and minimizes the trade-offs.

‘’1.  Instruction changes from being teacher-centered and content-driven, and becomes more learner-centered and learning process-driven.

2. The student’s role changes from that of being a passive recipient or empty receptacle into which the instructor “deposits” knowledge—the “banking theory” of education (Freire, 1970)—to that of an engaged learner and active agent in the learning process.

3. The instructor’s role expands from that of a knowledge-laden professor who professes truths and disseminates factual information, to that of being a learning mediator or facilitator who assumes the following roles:

There is quite a bit of information written on this, but good concise descriptions can be found at…




This is how the CRI Council sees itself educating, as expressed in the ‘Science-in-Architecture’ document; and summarize in the ‘’are YOU IN?’’ document:

In the words of William Butler Yeats “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’’. And thus, the CRI Council is in a sense, building fires on the experience and dedication of countless industry leaders and stewards, reflecting the organization’s principles, and the ‘Guidelines on Education Policy for sustainable Built Environments’, of the United Nations Environment Programme. In the largest sense, ‘Science-in- Architecture’ is an action and experienced base program with formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of individuals, industries and communities. In it’s technical sense, it is an education process by which the council deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge skills and values inwards and outwards the industry it evolves within and shapes, from one generation to another. The goal: MISSION 2030

Posting CRI Council document: Can an organization post CRI Council documents on their web site or distribute?

Currently, we reserve this right for allies (other non-profit organizations or businesses working in kind with the CRI Council), and sponsors

Others can provide the link to the CRI Council web site where the document is found.

What is the difference between a CRI Council ally and a supporter?

Allies are non-profit organizations who have signed the Memorandum of Understanding, or provide service in kind. Supporters are either members, or sponsors.

Staff: How much staff does the CRI Council have?

Currently, the CRI Council relies entirely on the volunteer hard work and good will of leading industry professionals, who believe in the cause; and has not received any government support whatsoever. Sponsorship received has simply helped to pay graphic work, web design, some consulting, and outreach travel expenses.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead.

That noted, as can be imagined, achieving Mission 2030 without support staff will be extremely difficult. Therefore, the CRI Council is in desperate need for financial support and more volunteers – making this a high priority.

Governance:   What sort of governance does the CRI Council have in place?

Governance is a high priority of the council. Therefore, an election for a 1st official board of directors will be called in the nearest future possible.

Rating/Certification Systems:   Which rating system does the CRI Council support.

While the founders of the council all have their individual beliefs, and most are LEED AP’s, the organization is non-partisan so those involved in its foundation agreed that all building rating systems have their advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, and possibly even more important is the shared belief that Construction Resource (aka waste) Management should be done on all projects, and product manufacturing, regardless of if it is applying for any specific rating/certification, or not; to help affect mindset and drive markets. Rating/Certification Systems are not be enough to move us out of the industrial revolution.

Are governments involved in Mission 2030?

From the onset, a great dialogue was open with the Metro Vancouver – ‘a political body and corporate entity operating under provincial legislation as a ‘regional district’ and ‘greater boards’ that deliver regional services, policy and political leadership on behalf of 24 local authorities’ which has instigated the municipal ‘Zero Waste Challenge’ (80% diversion by 2020). It links to the region’s new solid waste plan and represents a step they are taking as a region to move towards making the least amount of garbage possible.


This dialogue is extremely important as municipalities have an important role to play in the reduction of C&D waste, which Metro Vancouver has acknowledged and taken the lead on with the Zero Waste Challenge, as well as initiating the concept of a Zero Waste Marketing Council with FCM, which the CRI Council hopes to be a part of if and when it is established. Therefore, the CRI Council was pleased to have Heather Schoemaker, Mgr of Corporate Relations and Dennis Ranahan Deputy Manager, Solid Waste Planning, Metro Vancouver, participate in the recent Wakefield QC Leaders Workshop.

Also present was the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, who has taken the time to learn more about our initiative, even though they currently could not support financially.  Staff has clearly taken a keen interest and been extremely helpful in providing guidance within their boundaries, resulting in great constructive recommendations and new contacts.

One of those, Councillor Keith Irving, and retired architect, also brought a wealth of knowledge and great advice to the workshop discussions.

Other players have a role to play, by monitoring and reporting on government performance to address risks like C & D waste. They include the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) and its dedicated group of environmental auditors led by the  the federal Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD)  Among other things, the CESD has a mandate to monitor and report on how well federal departments and agencies meet the targets and goals that will be set out in the 2010 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. Representatives with the CESD were present at the workshop.

The 2010 Canadian Federal Sustainable Development Strategy does not include a specific target for waste reduction from government construction or renovation projects or government operations. However, the government has committed through Goal 8 (Greening Government Operations) to “minimize the environmental footprint of its operations.” As of April 2012, new construction and build to lease project and major renovation projects are to achieve an industry-recognized level of high environmental performance (Target 8.1). Best practice implementation strategies for federal departments and agencies include, “Establishing benchmarks for key environmental aspects such as….construction, renovation and demolition waste management (8.1.6).

We are hopeful that the valuable information the CRI Council has provided and can further collectively gather, with other leaders also present at the workshop, including the Green Party of Canada will help raise more interest and support from other governments at all levels, including those already solicited such as the cities of Ottawa, Gatineau, Ontario, Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, Canadian government…

Is Mission 2030 (Zero Construction, Renovation & Demolition Waste to landfill by 2030) possible?

Under current policies, standards, infrastructure, mindset, etc. would likely be impossible. However, history and leaders have shown us that we can make it happen. In fact, many believe that considering all facilitating the factors, this goal could actually be reached before 2030 and that the bar could be raised to all Industrial, Commercial and Institutional waste.

Furthermore, looking at biomimicry (the study of nature to imitate its designs & processed to solve human problems; i.e.: study a leaf to invent a better solar cell) some feel that, while maybe not by 2030, true zero waste will one day be possible.

Does Mission 2030 include waste from manufacturers of building products?

Yes. What has not been determined however is the details to address the ‘chain of custody’ for manufacturers or when we will have the human and financial resources to focus on this.

Who is the CRI Council’s main target audience?

Because of the complexity of the issue, there are in fact many target audiences.

That said, in view of the initial focus and the readily available tools (i.e.: Request for Proposals or Contract Documentation; Specifications, Site Waste Management Plan, Codes, Standards, Regulations, etc) those include – though not limited to:

  • Design/Build sectors
  • IC&I waste recovery sector
  • Building owners and managers
  • Building product manufacturers, associations, dealers and suppliers
  • Financial
  • Surety
  • Educational institutions
  • Governments – ALL levels

Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP): What is a Site Waste Management Plan?

A SWMP is a document which should include:

Stage 1 – Preparation

–        Identify responsibilities for preparation and implementation of the SWMP

–        Record all design, waste management and minimisation decisions

–        Forecast all waste types & quantities on your project

–        Identify waste management options/routes (Reduce/Recycle/Recover/Dispose)

Stage 2 – Implementation

–        Identify your waste management contractors

–        Training & communication

–        Measurement of actual construction waste generated onsite

–        Monitor implementation of SWMP

Stage 3 – Review

–        Carry out post-construction SWMP review

Extended Producer Responsibility – EPA?

What is it?

In Canada, both “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) and “product stewardship” programs are used to manage products at their end-of-life.

An EPR program specifically identifies end-of-life management of products as the responsibility of producers (e.g., brand owners, first importers or manufacturers), whereas a “product stewardship” program generally allocates responsibility to provincial or municipal governments.

The main difference between the two approaches is that funding for EPR programs is provided by producers. Costs can be internalized as a factor of production or may be passed on to consumers.

In contrast, under a product stewardship program, legislated environmental fees and/or public funds are commonly used as a funding base. Product stewardship programs usually do not allocate financial responsibility to producers.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), through the Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility, supports the move towards greater producer responsibility, including work towards transforming “product stewardship” initiatives into full EPR programs.

For more information on EPR programs and policies, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of our Website or visit the Inventory of Programs for a list of EPR and product stewardship initiatives in Canada.

Ref.: http://www.ec.gc.ca/gdd-mw/default.asp?lang=en&n=FB8E9973-1

Since governments have this on their agenda, why not just wait for them to do this?

There is a long list of reasons why private industry should be involved in EPR regulation development – to note just a few.

  1. If industry is not involved, EPR will end up like so many other regulations, costing tax payers millions in research development and implementation. Possibly even ineffective if regulators to do fully understand the implications or trade-offs directly from industry.
    1. a.     …CME (Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters) ‘’believes that the approach that the Ontario government is currently proposing is flawed, is not in line with other jurisdictions and will not result in reducing waste and achieving the goals set out by Ontario. Ontario manufacturers will be paying significantly higher waste reduction costs than their competitors as well as increased administrative burden’’.   Ref.: http://www.cme-mec.ca/english/advocacy/your-issues/manufacturing-competitiveness.html
    2. While the CCME (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environments) has them addressing EPR for Construction and Demolition by 2017, Canadians are behind on this, and the CRI Council this is or will be trade barriers for some, as well as part of why Canada lags in Innovation in a global market. And, as time flies, the Canadian Building Industry will not be ready when provinces introduce such regulations.
    3. One size will not fit all. While this may work for products with relatively short span between the time it leaves the plant to the end of it’s life cycle, how will it work for building products which can are decades before they need to be replaced…

Does the CRI Council do Life Cycle Assessments?

No, but we do think these are important in moving forward and transforming the building industry towards a zero waste vision. Therefore, we are proud to have the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute as an ally to provide their expertise on this matter

LCA’s growing significance is evident in the next wave of eco-labeling: environmental product declarations (EPDs), which report LCA data. EPDs are often likened to nutrition labels on food packages. Already prevalent in Europe and Asia, EPDs are coming to North America, driven by market forces such as a new pilot credit in LEED and a new MR credit in LEED 2012. Suppliers to the construction sector are developing LCA data and EPDs to meet this market demand.

The benefit to LCA is simple: reliable, transparent data for both manufacturers and consumers.


It should also be noted that ww are closely watching the work of UNEP and ISO on this matter.


Therefore, the CRI Council goal will be to work closely with these high level experts, for some of the same reasons as expressed in the EPR question, but also because this helps us better understand the path should take, and the ones to be weary of…