After a tornado or other damaging storm, there’s a lot of debris and material from property damage that you need to dispose of. In a large-scale disaster, finding a dumpster usually isn’t a viable option. Plus, some materials aren’t safe to dispose of in the trash and require special treatment to avoid harming the environment. Learn how the tornado cleanup process works and how it’s done safely – and be Earth-friendly.
Environmentally Responsible Tornado Cleanup
During the stressful time of tornado cleanup, it’s easy for crews to become careless and simply shovel all the debris into trucks bound for the landfill. However, many cases of environmentally responsible tornado cleanup prove there’s a better way.
2007 Kansas Tornado
Greensburg was hit by an F5 tornado in May 2007. One week after the twister passed through the city, the EPA initiated curbside pickup of hazardous waste materials, including chlorine cylinders, ammonia tanks, propane tanks, oil, white goods (household appliances) and other hazardous household waste. These items were disposed of properly to prevent contaminating the air and water in the area.
Crew members also assessed damaged transformers for potential PCB contamination, as well as reviewed aerial photos of surrounding areas to locate and pick up containers displaced by the tornado.
2011 Alabama Tornado
Environmentalists often criticize the State of Alabama for its lenient enforcement of clean water and air standards. However, the state shines when it comes to tornado cleanup.
In one particular case in 2011, rebuilding the twister-ravaged city of Tuscaloosa involved recycling more than 90% of the debris. For example, fallen trees were hauled to Birmingham to be turned into mulch. This new model for debris removal saves landfill space, reduces air pollution from incineration and injects millions of dollars back into the local economy.
2011 Tennessee Tornado
The tornado-torn community of Apison, Tennessee received help from thousands of volunteers for several weeks following a deadly twister. As the community rallied together, a unique idea emerged. What if volunteers reclaimed appliances, furniture and wood from heavily damaged and unsalvageable insured homes and gave them to uninsured homeowners who needed to rebuild from scratch without the help of insurance? This idea brought the community together and helped the environment by instantly recycling salvageable household products.
In addition, instead of hauling splintered wood and broken tree limbs to the landfill, this debris was ground up into mulch and made available for community members to pick up for free. Undamaged timber, bathroom fixtures and appliances were also set aside to help residents who lost their homes rebuild at a lower cost.
2013 Oklahoma Tornado
The May 2013 EF5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma killed 24 people and injured 212 others. In the aftermath of a storm with 210 mph winds, the destruction was unimaginable. Still, crews worked diligently to sort debris and recycle whatever they could.
Co-director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Health and Humanitarian Logistics suggested asking the public to help sort debris on site to help the work move faster, offering incentives for any help people could provide. He also pointed out unique disposal and recycling options, such as sending debris overseas the way hurricane debris is often sent to Italy for conversion to biomass.
Use Rainbow Restoration® Services
If your property was damaged in a tornado or other natural disaster, you’re probably physically and emotionally spent. Professional restoration services from Rainbow Restoration provide the help you need in this difficult time.
Whether your home sustained minor damage or you need help clearing away debris so you can think about rebuilding, Rainbow Restoration is here to help. Our disaster cleanup, reconstruction and restoration services are eco-friendly in honor of Earth Day, no matter what time of year you need our help.
To schedule cleanup services following a natural disaster, please contact Rainbow Restoration. We’re here to help restore your home and get your life back on track.
For Further Reading:
More Than the Funnel: Severe Weather Tornado Signs
Tornado Shelters: Where to Take Cover When a Tornado Strikes
Why So Many Tornados in Tornado Alley?