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Construction on target to halve waste by 2012

Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced that construction industry signatories to its ‘Halving waste to landfill’ initiative have all significantly decreased the waste they dispose of in this way.

According to a signatory report published in March, since the commitment to halve waste going to landfill by 2012 was launched in 2008, 32 construction contractors have monitored and reported annual performance for their construction, demolition & excavation (CD&E) waste through the WRAP Waste to Landfill reporting portal. These companies represent most of the UK’s largest contractors and correspond to a total annual construction spend in excess of £21 billion over the reporting period.

The combined figures for the 32 companies show a decrease of 28% in the CD&E waste sent to landfill between 2008 and 2009, a drop from 3.1 million tonnes in 2008 to 2.2 million tonnes by the end of 2009.

WRAP also measured the amount of waste sent to landfill per £ million spent on construction (including refurbishment and demolition) for these same companies. This indicator takes into account changes in construction activity which could have affected the figures. The figures indicate a decrease of 44%; from 178 tonnes in 2008 to 100 tonnes in 2009.

Arguably, the most important finding in the report is that the data shows signatories are wasting less in the first place. There is a decrease in waste arising relative to construction spend of 23% - an indication that companies are increasingly taking action to prevent waste being produced.

Signatories are reducing their waste to landfill through a range of measures including:

  • using their procurement process to set requirements for their supply chains;
    designing out waste;
  • reducing wastage rates with more efficient material delivery logistics, storage and handling on site;
  • recovering more waste through improved segregation; and
  • working with more efficient waste management contractors

For more information on the Halving waste to landfill initiative, go to www.wrap.org.uk

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.