Reducing Waste - Waste Minimisation

 Targeting the potential areas for waste generation in construction projects can help to significantly reduce the quantity of construction waste created.  There are a range of opportunities to minimise waste before it is created and the earlier they are implemented within the project the greater the potential to significantly reduce waste.

Major improvements in materials efficiency are possible, without increasing cost, by minimising the overall creation of waste through the following:

Design Solutions – significant volumes of waste result from onsite cutting of materials to fit dimensional constraints of a project design. By considering wastage at an early stage in the process the design can be optimised for resource efficiency.

Material Procurement – the drive to reduce waste in construction projects is the responsibility of all involved. There is, however, a key role for contractors and subcontractors who procure and use materials. The efficient use of materials by contractors and subcontractors focuses on, effective estimating of waste, developing and implementing waste reduction solutions and producing accurate records of waste.

Construction Logistics – the cost of material wastage on a project not only relates to the material cost but also productivity losses associated with multiple handling of materials and inefficient construction practices that arise from poor logistics. Efficient logistics can have a substantial effect on minimising waste before it arises from the construction process.

Offsite Construction – offsite construction has a range of benefits compared to traditional build including the potential to greatly minimise on site waste. Through the substitution of a range of offsite construction methods there is the potential to reduce on site wastage by up to 90%.

Packaging – construction sites generate more packaging waste than any other waste stream. Steps to reduce the amount of packaging waste generated, coupled with greater re-use and recycling, result in significant cost and other benefits.

There are also opportunities for closed loop recycling to minimise waste in the following:

Demolition and Regeneration – maximising the recovery of materials and resources from demolition has economic as well as sustainability benefits. Minimising demolition arising through recycling and identifying reuse opportunities reduces disposal costs, material procurement and has the potential to create an income.

Utilities – an estimated 4.8 million tonnes per annum of materials are generated from water and gas asset renewal programmes throughout Great Britain. These works offer the opportunity for recycling and reuse of excavated materials in the reinstatement of trench openings.