There is an AVOID – REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE framework that can be used to reduce waste and risks on your construction project.
AVOID waste by careful planning at the design and drawing stages. It is at this stage that the greatest reductions in waste can be achieved:
- Select building materials and systems with low waste rates. In particular, consider modular and prefabricated construction materials that minimise onsite waste.
- Identify, source and specify recycled materials to be used during construction.
- Look at available recycled waste from demolition works or nearby locations.
- Choose a method of construction to minimise cut and fill.
- Design with life-cycle flexibility in mind.
- Use dimensions that suit standard material sizes. Plan the use of materials better to reduce the volume of waste (especially offcuts).
REDUCE by limiting waste when purchasing. This requires you to:
- Purchase materials with minimal packaging, while ensuring goods are not damaged during delivery.
- Control purchasing to limit over-ordering & to encourage buying of recycled or recyclable materials where appropriate.
- Improve site security to reduce theft of materials thus allowing the reduction in the over-ordering margin.
REUSE and RECYCLE by implementing a waste management plan, with a site management plan to support it.
First, plan to separate as much waste as is feasible:
- Plan for waste separation and sorting on-site during construction, where space allows.
- Plan locations for depositing and stacking of materials prior to onsite delivery.
- Provide recycling bins. Colour code or label waste bins and protect them from contamination, rain and wind where possible.
- Backload trucks from suppliers with waste products.
- Provide all workers with recycling, waste management and minimisation strategies during toolbox meetings or site inductions.
- If possible, secure special bins at night and weekends to prevent rubbish dumping in recycling bins – especially at Christmas time.
- Use waste service providers to advise on disposal options.
- Provide regular waste bins for food scraps and household waste during construction. Usually lidded overhead bins are used.
Note: mixed loads that contain timber or green waste must go to a putrescible landfill and not an inert landfill. Disposal fees at putrescible landfills are around 4 times higher than inert landfills.
If off-site separation is required, there are bin hire companies and material recovery facilities that will separate and recycle your materials.
Next, ensure that you enforce reuse and recycling in your contracts:
- Prepare a waste management plan before tender so any waste avoidance or management costs are factored into the price.
- Include waste minimisation and recycling performance clauses in subcontract orders.
- Require workers/trades to separate wastes, if possible.
- Agree which party or parties receive any financial benefits of recycling.
- Consider a back charge for sorting of waste streams not properly sorted by each sub-contractor or worker.
Master Builders Waste Management Guide
Master Builders has produced a Waste Management Guide to assist builders and contractors, to see what they can do on their worksites in WA to avoid, reuse, recycle and dispose of wastes.