Casper apartment : recycle

Developer recycles notorious Casper apartment

By JOSHUA WOLFSON

They salvaged cabinets, claw-foot tubs and even the locks.

Workers removed the bricks and took whatever metal they could: cast iron, lead and steel. They crushed tons of concrete for use in new buildings. Even the trees out front were sold for firewood and compost.

When the job was done, little remained but damaged carpets and the wooden frame. The crew had recycled 83 percent of the KC Apartments — one of downtown Casper’s most notorious buildings.

“It was just pure trash that went to the landfill,” said Pete Peterson, the demolition contractor who ran the job. “Pure trash.”

Workers demolished the building this spring so developer Steve Grimshaw could construct a new apartment complex. But instead of simply tearing down the building, which was shuttered two years ago after city inspections found dozens of safety hazards, Grimshaw chose to recycle whatever he could.

Recycling meant less waste for the landfill. It also provided material for new projects without a big increase in the overall demolition cost.

“It just makes sense,” Grimshaw said.

Crushed concrete became fill material for the Sunshine Apartments — the new building on the KC site — and a second apartment project a few blocks away. The exterior bricks will adorn a new park being built near the two apartment complexes.

“We are just trying to be responsible builders,” Grimshaw said.

In a typical home demolition, about half of the material can be reused, said Peterson, who’s been performing demolition work for 14 years. The KC Apartment offered more material for recycling because the structure contained a large amount of concrete and masonry.

It took about a month to take down the 97-year-old building.

“We just take a look and see what I think we can salvage and what I think we might be able to sell to somebody else,” Peterson said. “And then we go about saving those particular items.”

Metal can be sold to larger outfits like Pacific Steel & Recycling. But Peterson also sells to people looking for antique items for their homes.

In the case of the KC Apartments, Peterson sold wrought iron fencing to a man who wanted to remanufacture it for a house. Others bought claw-foot tubs and the antique locks from doors.

Shawn Rivett has bought several items from Peterson, although none from the KC Apartments. He furnished his downtown loft with a fire door, reclaimed bricks and old wooden beams. All came from salvage jobs.

Sometimes, Rivett buys recycled materials simply because he can get them at a good price. But they also offer him something unique.

“You just can’t buy that stuff at the store,” he said.

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