Waste from construction sites account for a massive 2-3% of construction costs, which impacts significantly on profit margins. This makes it extremely important to keep waste to a minimum.
As of April 2008, it has been a legal requirement that construction projects worth more than £300,000 in the UK must have a Site Waste Management Plan. Yet with 420 million tonnes of materials being used by the construction industry in the UK, 120 tonnes of that is still becoming waste.
The most commonly used materials left over include wood, drywall, metal and cardboard. These materials typically make up 70-95% of the discarded material at residential or commercial sites. These discarded materials can actually be valuable commodities that can be recycled into new products.
Many construction businesses view the disposal of waste process as a cost, yet recycling can benefit a construction businesses bottom line and it benefits the environment.
Recycling Is Important to Your Business and the Environment
Recycling waste materials generated at construction sites is becoming increasingly more important. Recycling waste reduces carbon emissions and helps your company to comply with environmental legislation and restrictions on what can be sent to landfills.
Besides the environmental benefits, recycling can have economical benefits for your business. Some recyclers charge less money to accept materials that can be recycled, especially if they are separated from other materials. Additionally, recycling or using materials onsite can reduce your material hauling and disposal costs.
What Construction Waste Can Be Recycled?
There are many different types of materials that you can recycle from construction and demolition projects and these include:
- Bricks and Blocks
- Floor and Wall Coverings
Recycling and Reusing Options for Construction Materials
There is a variety of ways that you can dispose of and recycle these construction materials, and these include:
- Incorporate Waste Into the New Building
The smartest way to recycle construction waste is to integrate it back into the new building or building site. This does sometimes happen naturally, such as in remodelling projects. In remodelling projects, walls are not always necessarily demolished; they may simply be redecorated, moved or reconfigured.
- Locate Your Local Recycling Centre
It is important to find local recycling centres, as if it is too far or going to take up a lot of petrol then it is often best to look for another solution. However, if you do have a local recycling centre, contact them to determine what materials they accept and whether they require them to be separated (separation can increase the value of materials, however some recyclers do accept mixed loads).
- Deconstruct Instead of Demolish
There are some construction companies that are able to remove reusable items without damaging them for reuse in social housing projects. There may also be tax advantages to the customer who is paying for the project. If it is not possible to remove items without damaging them, the other alternative is to sell items. Radiators, grates, piping, appliances and fittings in good condition can all qualify for selling.
Overall, looking for new ways that you can use more recycled materials and dispose of waste environmentally should be key factors thought about when going into a construction project. It will not only benefit your business, but also the environment, so why would you not consider reducing your overall costs?