Saturday, November 07, 2009

Recycling Dick's Pizzaria

Hi everyone,

Everything changes. The Binkery's been relocated and the building next door, Dick's Pizza, was razed to make way for a new Walgreens.

I had a great conversation with the construction manager about new protocols for managing the debris economically and environmentally. They did a nice job on minding the environmental p's and q's, but West Bend, like cities everywhere needs to start thinking more seriously about adopting LEED standards for new construction.

Saturday's column.

Recycling Dick’s Pizza a brick at a time

West Bend can follow environmental LEED

Last week I watched a giant back-hoe claw Dick's Pizza into rubble. Rest in pieces, Dick’s Pizza. The first pizza I ate in West Bend was one of their specials with everything. I had just moved into one of the bunker-style apartments on Morgan and, on that day, all my worldly possessions consisted of eight boxes of books, a brick and board bookshelf, a futon and a wok. And a Dick’s pizza. That pizza, I’ll confess, made me hopeful.

With the entire northeastern corner of Washington and 18th now bulldozed flat, I wondered where the pieces had gone. I watched The Binkery roll down Highway 33 to its new home, but where did Dick’s end up?

The project manager at the Redmond Company (the group now installing our third Walgreens) and the city engineering and planning departments helped me track down the pizza crumbs of aggregate, steel and asphalt.

They’ve taken good care of the site. For starters, nothing was wasted: more than 50 percent of Dick’s Pizza was recycled.

About 15 tons of steel was sold to salvage, around 2,100 tons of the old parking lot was pulverized and reused onsite as fill, and about 1,300 tons of concrete block is being stored near Fond du Lac and will eventually find its way into new construction projects. The aluminum cooking hoods were recycled and the old Dick’s Pizza sign was sold to the folks at Clothes Clinic who plan to retrofit it into a new sign for their business. Wave as you go by.

The interior furnishings were auctioned off last year. I was told the Hartford Jaycees came through and grabbed four 16-foot fake beams from the ceiling over the bar to be used in their annual Haunted House. That’s a nice retirement for those beams – helping to scare the dickens out of little kids. It’s poetic.

Recycling demolition debris is still largely cost driven so, if recycling facilities were close enough to offset the costs of hauling, the contractor used recycling. That’s economically important because landfills aren’t as cheap as they used to be.

On Oct. 1, Wisconsin added a surcharge on landfilling debris which the Associated Recyclers Of Wisconsin puts at a 67 percent cost increase. It looks like a lot, but the dollar cost is still significantly lower than neighboring states – one reason why Wisconsin has become a popular place for both Minnesota and Illinois to dump their garbage. In the big picture, the surcharge encourages recycling and will help to limit the garbage from Illinois entering Wisconsin – and I don’t just mean when the Bears play at Lambeau.

They also took good care of Silver Creek, which runs right behind the site.

Some of you may remember when runoff from construction of the Walmart Superstore damaged the headwaters of Quaas Creek. Nobody wants that to happen again, so the environmental assessment, completed prior to demolition and construction, was a strict one. The construction site required a DNR Chapter 30 individual permit (the most restrictive kind) because Silver Creek is, technically, a navigable waterway. Yes: a navigable waterway.

Here’s the DNR’s definition: “Public lakes, rivers, and streams have a bottom (bed) and side (bank), and enough water to float any boat, skiff, or canoe of the shallowest draft on a reoccurring basis.” I suppose a plastic duck, painted to look like Louis Armstrong, floating down Silver Creek through Regner Park during the annual Fourth of July Duck Derby races, constitutes a shallow draft vessel.

More seriously, the creek is listed under the DNR’s Areas of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI) designation because it’s vital to the health of those ponds in Regner Park and, remember: no Silver Creek, no Duck Derby.

Recycling Dick’s Pizza embodied good economic sense, with environmental and social responsibility for toppings – that didn’t cost extra. Most companies now recognize that the triple bottom line (which expands the measure of success from economic, to include environmental and social implications) saves money in the long run. It’s a great start on economic, environmental and socially responsible construction methods.

As a community, we can do more. We can adopt the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accreditation standard developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED standards provide architects and developers with guidelines for making their buildings economically, and environmentally, friendlier.

The usual cities have already adopted LEED standards, places like Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, but even here in West Bend we have some famous examples: the new Gehl building and West Bend Mutual’s recent addition both implemented LEED standards. West Bend Mutual has even been recognized as an early adopter of green building methods, which are as good for the bottom line as they are for the environment. Maybe it’s time for the city of West Bend to be recognized for taking the LEED in construction and innovative development.



Kevin Scheunemann said...


This presents a big hurdle for small business.

Your goals, while nobel, increase costs, in some cases dramatically.

If you increase the barrier to small business, you will get more of the very thing you detest, large "evil" conglomrates like Walmart.

Big corporate conglomerates will end up being the only entities to be able to fund the ever increasing barriers to business entry.

Or is that the goal? Make corporations bigger and more "evil"? To make it easier to nationalize, like Government Motors?

DanBack said...


Mpeterson said...

Sigh. Your problem is that you believe you share the same financial cost structures, and would get the same financial breaks, as big corporations. That's simply nonsense.

Everyone else who has adopted a triple bottom line approach to analyzing their processes actually makes money. Why would you be opposed to that?

Anonymous said...

Good article. Thanks.

Kevin Scheunemann said...


You can triple bottom line the analysis all you want, if the project will not make money because you make the project regulatory cost prohibitive, small business will not invest.

This is fine if West Bend Mutual or Walgreens does this voluntarily. To impose this as a mandate is a different story.

What about a tax incentive instead?

Mpeterson said...

I'd simply taken it as obvious that governments shouldn't compel businesses to do things that drive them out of business. ; )

On the other hand Kev, are you saying that cutting waste in your energy related processes is not economical?

That would explain why you're only in the top 5% and not in the top 2%. :^)

Anonymous said...

I will have to agree with Mark Peterson on this issues in this sound article. Although clean-up and recycling can get expensive, our children may have reasonably clean water, skies, and fewer piles of wastes forming mountain backdrops on the horizon. If this hinders some future business people who can't "figure it out" with government assistance from the city council and other business support groups, too bad, then they likely would have failed anyway and left a big mess to cleanup too.

If one's only measurement of happiness is dictated by the dollar , I cannot understand them or relate to them.


Mpeterson said...

Y'all have to remember that Kevin is a hard line libertarian and, as such, doesn't believe he has any social obligations to anyone or anything beyond himself and his own enlightened selfish interests -- that would include even his own children, if he had any.

They'd have to go it alone, just like the hatchlings of any other crocodile. So, I'm afraid you'll find Kevin completely impervious to any bleeding heart arguments about obligations to children.

kevin scheunemann said...

Mark, Mark...


First I'm all for recycling that makes economic bottom line sense. I'm against recycling that costs $10 to save $1 through regulation. (like newspaper recycling) That consumes resources, vs preserving and conserving resources.

This is what I don't get about the liberal argument. Wealth creation allows us the luxury of worrying about the environment.

When you destroy wealth creation by carrrying your tax, spend, regulatory advocacy to its logical big government conclusion, you get Eastern Europe cira 1950-1989. Eastern Europe revealed after the Berlin wall fell showed it was the greatest and most disgusting environmental disaster and crimes of our generation!

Those communist, high tax, high regulatory, economies could not generate wealth. Little social resources went into protecting the environment because of the lack of resources for environmental protection from lack of wealth creation.

Wealth creation is the greatest environmental protection there is.

Your heavier-handed regulatory environmental "strategies" are a danger to wealth creation, and long-term, the environment.

Anonymous said...

How about God's children or God's creation or is he an atheist going around once then off to the compost pile too? Perhaps Kevin should burn some tires and pour some grease into the Milwaukee river in a tea party protest of "socialist" eco-laws. Better yet, he could move to a country that is more "business friendly" instead of tolerating this charade. What's holding him back, family? Friends? Customers? Converting you?

Mpeterson said...

Oh c'mon Kevin, don't let me down. A=A. It's as plain as the nose on your face. Your offspring shouldn't have to depend on your charity. They should work or die, the same as your principles dictate for the rest of us. :^)

Secondly, the Russian Communists never exactly taxed anyone and under Marx's of communism there can't really be anything like taxation since centralized government would wither.

More seriously, I don't know any liberals opposed to wealth creation -- when that wealth creation actually benefits everyone. For me, this boils down to Rawls. I'd would have suspected you'd approve of Rawlsian notions of social justice.

Kevin, it's never a matter of wealth creation -- it's a matter of wealth creation for whom? Too much destabilizes economies and polities. -- as we're seeing. It annoyed enough people, in fact, that they elected a black liberal as President by a wider margin than Reagan over Carter.

Besides, I think you should recheck who's side you're really on. You're not Cargill, Kev. How much taxes do their execs pay? :)

kevin scheunemann said...


We agree on recycling that makes economic sense.

Its the recycling argument that does not make economic sense, through regulation, and its effect on small business and job creation is where our debate lies. (As an example, is saving $1 in newsprint if it costs $10 to transport and recycle, save or destroy the environment? That is BAD recycling)

Putting too much onus on small business and the entrepreneurial spirit serves to widen the gulf between rich and poor. (disincentive to work)

When you say wealth creation for whom...I say not regulating the human spirit into government bureaucrat oblivion.

Why aren't Eastern European economies from 1950-1989 the natural consequence and perfect example of approaching a 100% tax rate? Not just on income, but a 100% tax rate on assets as well.

The more you tax, the less incentive there is to work, the less wealth is created.

Its no coincidence that countries with highest tax rates and little respect for private property rights have some of the WORST records on environmental protection.

Mpeterson said...

Creating wealth for everyone would be nice -- if our economy worked like that. It doesn't. Follow the flow of capital over the past 30 years and it all goes up. QED.

Anonymous said...

Mark, you are missing one important thing about the flow of capital. The flow of capital is what provides jobs. You start to mess with the flow of capital and you begin to mess with peoples' jobs.

I know you don't believe in trickle down but it's all around us.

The collection of wealth is what opens new businesses and creates opportunities for everyone else. If we equally distributed the income of everyone is the U.S., who would open new business or continue running the ones we already have? That is pretty much what you are trying to say here... take money from the top and distribute it to the bottom. Socialism at its best.

Mpeterson said...

The jobs chestnut is another meme-soaked and media tested bit of camouflage: the increased concentration of capital means more jobs?

That's true, except the jobs being created pay less, on average and in real dollars, than they did 30 years ago.

So the evidence of trickle down is all around us... people with more debt making less money while working at more jobs.

And you're assertion is that this is a good thing?

Anonymous said...

I never said it was 100% perfect but, without trickle down, there would be nobody working and nobody making money. Would you not agree?

My paycheck comes from my boss who accumulates wealth through the operations of the business. You paycheck comes from tuition dollars. Those tuition dollars from each and every student and accumulated and then distributed to the professors and workers at the university.

You and I may want higher pay (even though you would teach for the intrinsic rewards alone!) but that doesn't mean that trickle down doesn't exist.

Mpeterson said...

Well, people are working NOW in an economy directed by the massive-tax-cuts-for-the-wealthiest economic structure, but they're working at lower paying jobs.

Plenty of people were working in higher paying jobs back in the 1960s before corporate interests were able to get control of the political switches -- in fact, fewer people had to work in order to support a family... that left a parent at home with the children.

An economy in which both parents often have to work to support a family has social costs that don't show up in corporate earnings tables -- and this is the one cost I'm simply unable to get past.

If everything else worked -- if we could let the wealthiest hold on to that extra 15% of income tax, as we do now compared to the late 70's, and still pay American workers at a rate they were paid during the 1960's, I'd be happy and I'd let go of this.

-- but, so it goes.

I'm not disputing that the US adopted a trickle down economic system, and that it's responsible for the current melt down -- I'm pointing out the negative consequences.

Everyone says, 'look at the jobs it created'. All I see are more people working harder for less money and those responsible for implementing the economic changes now accumulating wealth at rates faster than any in history.

Who did all of this work out for?

If you'd like to address those points, I'd be glad to hear about it. Otherwise, everything you say is simply a distraction, a way to avoid dealing with these key points.

Anonymous said...

Recycling in the construction sector is far from new for me its already old hat.Recycling is a part of LEED but proper engineering of building components is the big hurdle.Put some good old common sense in use and recycling can save you money. Anything tossed in a dumpster will cost you money to have hauled away, to avoid this find people to take it for free. Many farmers want drywall scraps for there fields as it puts mineral back in the soil.
Employees take home all wood scraps to burn as fuel or even campsite wood. We let are crews keep all the cash for scrapping out metal. Old cabinets and doors can be gifted to habitat resale shops. My dumpster costs have been steadily declining for years and if the guys can make some pocket change to boot good for them .

Mark if you want a good example of LEED construction close to home take a trip out to the newly built Horicon Marsh International Education Center on HWY 28. We built this for the DNR and the Freinds of the Marsh Group. Recycled paper was utilized as ceiling insulation, thermal windows used that get r-values close to typical wall construction.Paints and adhesives with low voc's that perform better then the nasty smelling stuff, why would you not use these is my question to doubters.
Leed building is the most exciting,fastest moving industry happening, every day giant strides are being made its just plain fun for me.
Did you know old denim (blue jeans)is being shredded in mass quanities and used as wall insulation and it performs better then fiberglass.
Wood shingles can be shredded and used as landscape mulch.
Old concrete driveways are now made into house siding and has a 40 year warranty. A LEED certified building also promotes buying local as guielines are in place to assure your materials where not shipped from 2000 miles away.
Anyway you slice it its all good, some people called TV a fad, some still wince at computers, learn to embrace as LEED is here to stay. Nice article Mark but please next time be a sport and mention your hometown commercial contractor not the out of town boys. Do the marsh building you will be impressed.

Keep up the good work

Mpeterson said...

Thanks! I can't believe I missed the Horicon project!

Maybe triple bottom line cost savings don't work on ice cream.