I AM TOPEKA: Ashley Bahm, Bahm Demolition & Greenpoint C&D Processing Center
Emma Highfill | Photographer
Founded in 2002 by David Bahm, Bahm Demolition is a family-owned and-operated company located in Silver Lake, Kansas. Today, David’s daughter Ashley Bahm serves as the company’s president. Like any company in its field, the business provides demolition and deconstruction services. But Bahm has added its own twist to their services that make it anything but “just another demolition company.”
“On our demolitions, we actually do more dismantling than demolition, and we try to recycle or find a new use for the products that come down,” Ashley said. “A lot of times, people come out to our salvage yard and find products that we’ve demolished or dismantled, and are able to reuse them.”
On many Bahm projects, the team will go to the site and dismantle by hand. This allows the dismantled products to maintain their integrity and continue to provide value in whatever they are used to build next. The number of uses these salvaged materials have is innumerable— including being used to build the very desk in Ashley’s office.
After a few years of providing these environmentally conscious demolition services, Bahm Demolition wanted to open up these waste-recycling services to the public.
“From our experience in demo, there was an avenue to recycle products in demolition. A lot of construction and demolition waste was going to the local landfill, but we knew there was a way to recycle it,” Ashley said.
That insight is what spurred David, in 2007, to found GreenPoint C&D Processing Center—a division of Bahm Demolition that offered a place for the public to bring waste from their own construction or demolition projects, where it could be recycled and used again.
Types of waste that GreenPoint recycles include wood, metal, asphalt, shingles, larger plastic items, and other construction materials that one might otherwise send to be dumped in a landfill.
“The less waste going into the landfills the better—for the environment, and for all of us,” Ashley said. “Our clients love seeing the amount of products and waste from a demolition project that is able to be recycled.”
The materials that get brought in to GreenPoint get recycled in the more traditional sense, rather than reused. For example, the wood that is brought in by the public gets ground up, and any concrete that is brought in is crushed up and made into new items. On the other hand, refuse from a Bahm Demolition—such as wooden beams—might get stacked
on a pallet and then shipped off where the beams could be reused, rather than broken down and formed into an entirely new product.
Certainly, both business models play a pivotal role in reducing waste, but Bahm Demolition’s methods go a step further and preserve more than just the environment. They preserve history.
“We did this really cool demolition for BNSF over 10 years ago, and some of the pieces out of that building are located in Quinton’s, the restaurant,” Ashley said. “We also have pieces from our demolitions that ended up in The Foundry Event Center and the Topeka Zoo gift shop. In fact, we have an old safe that came out of a creamery in Abilene, and it turns out that Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first job was at that creamery.
“That is what’s the most fun: seeing products we’ve diverted from the landfill being reused in the community. We have a lot of people that buy material from us, and they ask us ‘Where’d this come from?’ They want to be able to tell that story.”