In 2017, the waste produced by construction and demolition in Australia amounted to 20.4 million tonnes. More than 6.7 million tonnes of this waste went to landfills. The rest was either recycled, illegally dumped, reused, reprocessed, or stockpiled. But we can improve by learning how construction waste can be reduced.
Construction waste can be reduced by planning for sustainable construction, recycling waste and only ordering the necessary number of materials. Onsite disposal systems will help to organise the construction waste and save as much as possible. Pre-planning is the best way to reduce construction waste.
There are specific materials that often go to waste on constructions sites. We can tell you about the best ways to organise the site to reduce your construction waste.
How to avoid material waste
To avoid construction material waste, you should aim to use sustainable materials such as already recycled ones with minimal packaging. Concrete, metals, wood, and glass are a few construction items that can be recycled meaning that less will be wasted. Be mindful of how much material you need and try not to overestimate the amount. This way you can be sure not to overconsume or overorder materials that will be left as waste. Wherever you are buying the materials from, inquire about a reuse or recycling service offered by the company. There are some companies that offer to buy back unused materials to help reduce waste.
An onsite disposal system should be put in place for any of your projects. This helps you to organise a system that separates recyclable from non-recyclable materials. You will be able to make sure that any leftover materials are correctly disposed of. For construction or renovation sites you should organise separate bins. Have regular drop-offs, collections, and changeovers of these bins for the duration of the project. To make sure this system works in reducing material waste, you need to talk to all employees about it. Make sure they understand the disposal system before construction begins and monitor it throughout the project.
If the construction works involve taking down another building, deconstruction instead of demolition should be kept in mind. This way you can reduce the material waste by recycling the materials from the previous building. The lack of recycling construction waste and waste contributes greatly to our major garbage problem. But if we start to think about reusing these materials, there is so much change in the waste world that will happen!
How to reduce concrete waste
Concrete waste can be recycled for other projects which is much better than throwing it away. It has been found that recycled concrete aggregate is quicker and easier to lay and compact. It is also cheaper than new concrete of which the cost is calculated on a waste basis. Recycled aggregate also offers better performance in wet weather which makes it better in the long run. With these benefits, including the money-saving, it is a great resolution to reducing construction concrete waste! Often concrete gets thrown away as a common recycling mistake on the worksite but reusing the aggregate is the best way to reduce concrete waste.
Overordering is the most common cause of concrete waste because so much is often needed that it is ordered in bulk without proper calculations. It can be hard to know how much concrete will be needed for a construction project which is why so much is ordered. But this leaves a lot of concrete waste that gets tossed away and forgotten about. There are two ways to resolve this. Ordering as you go is one option where a certain amount of concrete is ordered. If you find you need more along the way, you can order bits at a time. This forces you to be more considerate of the amount of concrete you need and wary to not overorder.
The second option is to use an onsite mobile crusher that creates the recycled aggregate during construction that we mentioned.
How to reduce demolition waste
You can construct buildings sustainably, and you can also demolish them sustainably. Once again, pre-planning is key. Inspect and evaluate the building thoroughly before starting work. Figure out what materials you could salvage to sell, recycle, or reuse. If you find hazardous materials, plan to make sure they won’t contaminate anything else and will be removed, transported, and disposed of safely and responsibly.
Working with multiple different waste management services that specialise in different types of waste can be very beneficial. You can be saved some stress of waste disposal by hiring a skip bin like our Capital Hire Skips because the company will organise it. Some materials require more careful handling than others. You shouldn’t hire this help to just chuck everything out, but you can work together to reduce the demolition waste. You can also sort salvageable from non-salvageable materials, instead of letting them all be dumped together. This way you can save as much recyclable demolition waste as possible.
Avoid exposing demolition materials to the elements when storing them. While it’s natural they have some wear and tear, these need to be usable. If they start deteriorating or getting damaged, they aren’t salvageable anymore. Timber, for example, needs to be kept dry to prevent the build-up of mould or rotting. You also need to keep metal parts dry, so they don’t rust or corrode.
Organise to deconstruct the building by sections. This once again helps organise your materials and separate your waste streams. It also makes sure salvageable pieces are kept with their main parts, like not removing the window latches and frames.
Complete soft strips, or the removal of internal furniture and carpets, manually. Most of these could likely be reused at other sites if correctly removed, further reducing the demolition waste. The key to reducing demolition waste is to think sustainably with every action taken. It can take more time to plan but ultimately makes a lot of difference.
How to reduce steel waste
Most construction steel can be recycled which is the optimal way to reduce steel waste. Reusing steel can limit energy emissions because less reprocessing of raw materials needs to happen. Steel alloy is produced in furnaces which creates lots of energy emissions that pollute the environment. Reusing steel materials promotes more sustainable steel production. It can also reduce the mining of raw materials as well.
The good thing about steel materials in construction is that they are typically pre-engineered before reaching the worksite. This means it’s easier to avoid overordering because you can typically find the correct dimension to match the construction plans. If a specific steel structure is needed, it can be ordered and built offsite. This significantly lowers the amount of onsite steel waste. When your steel arrives at the site, it should be in minimal, reusable packaging.
Transportation involves little to no waste. But, as with demolition, making sure the steel isn’t exposed to the elements before construction goes a long way. The keys to reducing construction waste are also similar to the ways of reducing renovation waste. By combining our advice from both articles, you can have sustainable and forward-thinking constructions happening everywhere! In our blog, we have lots of useful information about our waste production. We can tell you about the relationship between consumerism and waste generation or give you a helpful guide to upcycling and recycling! To hire a green waste or general skip bin, contact us at Capital Hire!