The need for a healthier, greener environment is becoming more prevalent with each passing day. Construction waste currently represents about one-half of all waste generated in the UK, and only about 80% of that is going into clean-fill. Commercial waste is no longer a short-term problem that requires a short-term solution.
With a lack of the appropriate disposal techniques, this waste continues to accumulate and pollute the environment. Efficient waste management is the key to building a clean community and maintaining a responsible recycling program will allow items to be reused and re-introduced into a variety of markets.
Four reasons to manage waste materials
For the majority of builders, construction waste is simply seen as an unavoidable cost of business. However, correctly and efficiently managing the stream of waste materials can be beneficial for your company:
As landfills close and it becomes more difficult to find suitable disposal sites, your disposal costs will rise accordingly – making it more costly for your business to operate.
When job site materials are wasted, you end up paying twice; once at the original purchase and then again when usable materials are hauled away for disposal. Learning what materials are ending up in the skip can provide a great deal of information about the wasted materials that are affecting your budget.
Construction sites typically use potentially hazardous materials, such as adhesives, solvents and paints. It is critical that you protect yourself from the potential liability that may result from illegal or unauthorised disposal of these types of wastes.
One of the most beneficial things you can do for your construction company is marketing it as an environmentally friendly business. Showing the public that, as your company builds, your goal is to protect the natural environment. This will give you a great public image.
Disposable waste and recyclable waste
Construction waste falls into two primary categories; disposable waste and recyclable waste.
Disposable waste is thought to be any substance or product that has no reusable purpose. The most efficient way of getting rid of disposable waste is with the services of a professional waste management company that specialises in safe disposal.
When it comes to recyclable waste, often the best solution for reducing waste is knowing what is being discarded in the first place. Routinely inspecting the waste on your construction sites can reveal a great deal about the efficient use of materials by your crew:
- Eliminate waste before it begins
As the builder, you are paying for the materials and the disposal. By monitoring the use of materials, you can maximise the efficient use of all materials, which will minimise waste.
A lot of construction waste materials can be reused. Insulation, large pieces of clean carpeting, vinyl flooring, slightly damaged doors and cabinets and concrete/masonry materials can all be used again if in decent enough condition and the circumstances are right.
A large portion of construction waste is recyclable, including drywall, metal and many plastics. Allocating a specific area for waste sorting will allow you to separate materials efficiently.
Learning how to reduce construction waste is a process, it takes time to train your crew to recognise the responsibility of recycling and reusing. However, it is a process that will pay off in the end, both for your business and for the environment.