How do I recycle and re-use on site?
The ‘reduce, re-use and recycle’ methodology is gaining momentum in Australian construction, as industry stakeholders recognise its environmental and economic benefits, according to a report by the Victorian Government.
|Diverting waste from landfill reduces greenhouse gases by avoiding methane emissions from the breakdown of wood and other organic waste. It also cuts the amount of liquid toxins seeping into the ground from landfill areas, and encourages the use of secondary resources as an alternative to ‘virgin’ material.
Moreover, the economic benefits to recycling include reduced material cost through the re-use of materials onsite, lower material tipping fees, the sale of recyclable material, and rebates for waste material delivered to recycling facilities.
The report – A Practical Guide to Reducing Waste on Building and Construction Sites – claims there is a growing awareness in the construction industry of the recycling movement and its positive impact on landfill.
For our building, architect and home renovation readers, Light Home has reviewed the report and identified some of the best and most efficient approaches to minimising waste.
Recycling on site: setting targetsBefore you implement a waste management plan, it’s necessary to audit the waste stream on site. Once you’re aware of what waste is being generated, it’s then a matter of setting targets. This helps to focus attention on recycling and provides a framework for developing strategies.
To succeed, a waste management plan must enlist the support of management to drive its strategy. Furthermore, it’s essential that management communicate the waste targets at the onset of the project, which helps to emphasise the importance of recycling to all stakeholders.
Waste minimisation plan: the low hanging fruitThere are a number of opportunities for minimising waste that can be implemented on almost any construction site. These include:
Re-use and recycle: opportunities for savingsIt’s possible to save big dollars by initiating engagement with the growing number of waste contractors. These contractors can provide rebates for either the transport cost or the amount of recyclable material delivered … or both!
Make a few calls to the manufacturers in close proximity to the site, who may collect specific waste streams for use in their own products, and encourage product suppliers to make the move to stackable, returnable and reusable packaging.
Demolish or deconstruct?The Practical Guide to Reducing Waste on Building and Construction Sites report also describes that the way a building is demolished often determines how effectively an individual material can be re-used or recycled.
A deconstructive demolition provides the greatest opportunity to remove materials for re-use, however the feasibility of this approach to demolition depends on the age of the building, the type of contraction and access to the site.
Plan success: get staff onboardA waste management plan won’t succeed without the fully-fledged support of workers on site.