Businesses that take active steps to reduce the 80 million-plus tonnes of waste produced by the construction trade each year can stay one step ahead of the competition by cutting their own disposal costs and helping clients reduce their carbon footprint.

how to reduce construction wasteThe construction industry is responsible for producing about a third of the UK’s waste, and although almost 85% of that material is reused, recycled or sent for energy recovery about 13 million tonnes of construction waste is still sent to landfill, including almost 10 million tonnes of soil and stones.

How can this figure be further reduced? And is it possible to get to a situation where zero waste is produced?

Any business that is serious about cutting the amount of construction waste produced needs to start by looking at how materials are delivered to site.

Here are 12 ways that can help you put less waste material in a skip – and cut your hire costs...

  • Don’t over order construction materials. While bulk purchasing can offer big cost savings, these can be wiped out if a company ends up paying to either dispose of or store unused materials. 
  • Should you find materials are left over at the end of a contract, arrange to sell them back to the supplier or set up a sale or return-style purchasing agreement. 
  • Return faulty or wrongly-sized materials to the supplier. 
  • Time the delivery of materials to the site in line with the construction timetable. This can protect materials from damage while in storage.
  • By prefabricating materials off site, a construction project’s carbon footprint will be reduced because the amount of on-site waste produced will shrink.
  • Buy materials with less packaging or try to write it into a supplier agreement. Also ask suppliers whether they will collect material packaging. 
  • Sort materials that can be sold on, such as scrap metal or virgin wood. And remember to recycle other waste, such as glass, steel and wood.
  • When drawing up architects’ plans, stick to standard sizes and shapes to avoid off-cuts or small amounts of extra materials being needed. 
  • Keep off-cuts out of a skip. You never know when you might need a small piece of a certain material.
  • Use high quality timber. Although it is often more expensive, it will have better yield (saving time and money) 
  • Electricians should use standard instead of armoured cable inside buildings to reduce the cable weight and reduce the number of support fittings needed. They should also keep termination tails to a minimum 
  • Most skip loads contain about 70% air. By packing a skip well, you can reduce the number of loads a construction project will require and save on hire costs.  

Effective waste management isn’t just about reducing the number of skips used during a project. Understanding where your waste goes and what happens to it can contribute to your measured performance, through increased recycling rates. By understanding how your waste is reused or recycled you can reduce the costs of disposal that could give you a real business advantage.

For more information about how to reduce the cost of your skip hire, contact ProSkips today.

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