5 waste management tips for the construction industry

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Responsible management of waste is an essential aspect of sustainable building. Waste management is a key area of concern within the construction industry today. With dumping sites currently overflowing everywhere in Africa, it is time to take salvage/reclamation opportunities, recycling or reusing materials, source reduction and waste disposal more seriously. The following are tips for sustainable waste management in construction:

Minimize waste

Some building-related waste can be minimized. For example, construction products can be selected on the basis of its being designed and manufactured to be shipped with minimal packaging. Also consider that selection and use of recyclable materials and products offers potential to minimize waste.

Segregate waste efficiently

How waste is separated and stored is essential for effective construction waste costs management. This can be done by:

  • Introducing a secure on-site waste storage area that features clearly labelled and colour-coded skips, bulk bags or wheelie bins for different types of waste
  • If applicable, deploying a mini crusher and screener for leftover bricks, blocks and hardcore
  • Training employees in basic segregation procedures, using incentives and rewards to ensure they follow them
  • Bringing on board a team to exclusively monitor and manage materials and waste either on a full- or part-time basis (depending on your budget).
Reuse materials

Some materials can be reused. For example, doors and windows in good, resalable condition might substitute for new products, or be donated and or sold for use on another project; a form of beneficial reuse.

Materials and products which cannot efficiently and effectively be eliminated, minimized or reused ultimately are collected, and unless managed, will probably be disposed at the lowest cost. In many areas of the country, disposal fees at solid waste landfills are substantially higher than the cost of separation and recovery, including the disposal cost for residues.

Eliminate waste

Some waste generated in the process of construction can be eliminated. For example, durable modular metal form systems for use in concrete construction may be selected on the basis of being readily demountable and reusable on other projects, thus eliminating wood waste associated with formwork fabricated of plywood and dimensional lumber. Elimination of waste can be beneficial to reduce impacts on human health and the environment.

Demolition and deconstruction

Building demolition results in heavy pollution and waste generation, so deconstruction needs to be the focus instead.

Deconstruction allows for extensive recovery of usable material at every level, right from systems and assemblies to entire structures and foundations. In addition to preserving resources and minimizing landfill waste, it also boosts the economy by creating new employment opportunities.

Here are some aspects to consider while designing/removing buildings:

  • Complete deconstruction is not always possible, but most buildings can be partially deconstructed by combining demolition and deconstruction methods.
  • Buildings that are wood-framed are highly deconstructable, especially if they have been constructed with heavy timber or versatile, old growth wood.
  • Paving or construction projects using high-quality brick covered with low-quality mortar are easier to deconstruct, clean and reuse in new buildings.
  • Structurally sound buildings that are constructed with durable materials are the easiest to deconstruct, with the maximum salvage/recovery potential.

9 thoughts on “5 waste management tips for the construction industry”

  1. We totaly need a waste management tips in our company as we are constructing our new building. Thanks!

  2. Counting the unlimited amount of feces, medical waste and even dangerous materials that is thrown away on a daily basis, it would appear that these items will be around forever. As a result of this surge in solid waste, many companies have resorted to unethical means of disposing their waste problems. By doing this they pose a risk on the community and the environment, with respect to waste management. We’ve had a lot of issues with waste management at the work sites and I think your article will help us to make sure that all of our sites are in full compliance with the law. I’m interested in reading this. It has a lot of details about the subject. It states some ways how to improve the waste management field.

  3. I loved how you mentioned that you should use recyclable materials in your construction site to manage your waste better. My brother is wanting to start a construction company and he was wondering how he can manage the waste of his company effectively. I’ll be sure to tell him that he should use recyclable materials in his construction site.

  4. As eliminating waste from construction work you need to do multiple things as there is lots of garbage with this work and you need to use professional waste remediation service which could provide you top notch service in your work.

  5. I like that you mention eliminating waste as necessary throughout the process. When doing this, it might help to set up rubbish chutes. This could help you more easily take the waste to the dumpster or wherever else you want it to go so that you can prevent it from laying around or causing problems.

  6. This is some really good information about waste management. It is good to know that you should try to think about what type of disposal fees you might get. That is good for me to know that it would be smart to have a company with a good reputation to help you manage waste removal.

  7. Amazing blog ..!!! Your blog is great source of information about waste management tips. This blog of yours will inspire future civil engineers to go in ecology way .

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