It is estimated that construction and demolition debris accounts for 40% of Australia’s total annual waste. Almost nine million tonnes of construction site waste is added to landfill sites each year yet improved management and recycling procedures could significantly reduce the impact on the environment and boost the efficiency of the circular economy.
What is Construction Waste?
Every construction, renovation and demolition project creates waste. It typically consists of used materials from old buildings, footpaths or roads mixed with new construction supplies that are either damaged or surplus to requirements. It frequently includes packaging, hazardous materials, broken power tools and oil or fuel from construction vehicles. Elements from the natural landscape inevitably become added to the mix.
Types of Construction Waste
According to the construction and demolition waste status report, here is a look at some of the different types of construction waste based on their material profiles.
1.Concrete and Bricks
7.Rock and Excavation Stone
8.Soil / Sand
Environmental impact of Construction Waste
One of the major concerns of construction waste is the number of hazardous materials it includes particularly the contaminated water residue from mixing cement. Paint or solvents also need to be properly disposed of otherwise they can seep into the local waterways causing pollution and killing wildlife. Measures including mechanically stabilized walls of earth, concrete blocks or turbidity barriers can help prevent soil erosion and water seepage. Hazardous dust from materials such as asbestos and welding smoke should be safely contained on site but dampening can help prevent particles being spread by the wind. Large volumes of brick and concrete debris, almost four-fifths of all construction waste, are currently contributing to overflowing landfill sites.
Where to take Construction Waste?
1.Reclamation Yard – for the resale of reusable construction materials such as bricks, fixtures and fittings
2.Scrap yard – for all types of metal
3.Recycling Plants – for materials such as plastics, concrete, asphalt and glass
How to reduce Waste on a Construction Site?
1.Efficient use of Materials – offcuts from timber, tiles and other materials can often be used elsewhere on the project
2.Management of Supplies – ordering supplies only when needed prevents breakages caused through on-site storage
3.Returns Policy – order materials from suppliers who agree to accept unused materials
4.Waste Removal – organise an efficient system where designated bins or skips are removed regularly
Construction Waste Recycling
An efficient recycling system can make profitable use of resources while significantly reducing the amount of construction site waste. During the early stages of demolition, many internal fixtures such as bathroom suites and kitchen units can be removed and reconditioned for sale at economical prices. Light fittings, boilers and air-con units can be reconditioned. Window frames, doors, roof tiles, bricks, floorboards and slabs are just a few of the materials that can be used again in other building projects. Valuable resources such as aluminium reinforcing bars, copper wiring and pipework can be sold as scrap contributing to efficient use of materials.
The recycling of aluminium, in particular, is extremely cost-effective and produces fewer carbon emissions than processing the raw material. Even rubble can be used as a hardcore layer in the construction of new roads. There are currently several innovative schemes for the recycling of construction materials in Australia. In Adelaide, a new road has been laid from 100% recycled asphalt mixed with reclaimed vegetable oil and a footpath at Hoppers Crossing in Victoria has been constructed from recycled glass and plastic. Both schemes reduced carbon emissions by up to 65% when compared to using new materials.
Construction Waste Bin
Using large, metal scrap bins or skips from a registered company that runs an efficient delivery and collection service is ideal for an effective construction site waste management plan. Multiple bins are issued to keep hazardous waste separate from other construction site waste.