Goal to cut construction waste by half on target

An initiative to get UK construction companies to cut waste by half by next year is on target, latest figures show.

The Halving Waste to Landfill construction initiative is on track to cut waste in half from its 2008 baseline by 2012, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced.

Together, 32 companies from the construction, demolition and excavation industry have reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills by 28 per cent – just under one million tonnes – between 2008 and 2009. Signatories to the pledge include Sir Robert McAlpine, Thomas Vale Construction and Great Portland Estates.

“In just over two years the Halving Waste to Landfill Commitment has gone from zero to influencing nearly £38 billion worth of construction projects,” said Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP ceo. “This demonstrates that the commitment requirements are being embedded within industry and this is delivering great results for business and the environment.”

Measures undertaken
Companies have undertaken several measures to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfills. They’ve been able to do this by setting requirements for the supply chain, designing projects so they produce less waste, using more efficient delivery, storage and handling of materials, recovering more waste and working with efficient waste management contractors. Each part of the supply chain has certain guidelines to follow in order to reduce waste.

WRAP also measured the decrease in waste per £1 million spent on construction. After taking this into account, these construction companies were able to reduce their waste from 178 tonnes to 100 tonnes (44 per cent).

Number of signatories

Currently, 602 companies have signed on to the Halving Waste to Landfill Commitment, with 67 contractors already reporting a baseline. These 32 companies make up 25 per cent of the UK’s construction market, which accounts for £23 billion each year in construction.

Lord Henley, Waste and Recycling Minister, challenged more construction companies to join the initiative. “Architects, engineers and builders across the country are saving money and the environment by cutting down on throwing out valuable material,” he said. “Construction businesses, big and small, are now on board and making this happen, so I’d challenge those not yet involved to also step up and see the real value that halving waste to landfill will bring.”

The Strategic Forum for Construction is responsible for evaluating whether the companies in the initiative reach their goals at the end of 2012. The forum uses a different method of calculating waste reduction than WRAP, but according to the forum’s figures, England alone has reduced its waste by 23 per cent, from 12.5 million tonnes to 9.7 million tonnes. Once it take into account the change in construction from 2008 to 2009, the overall decrease in waste sent to landfill was 13 per cent.

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