In early 2022 the construction industry in the UK is booming. The emergence from the pandemic has been met with a housing crisis leaving companies racing to attempt to meet the urgent demand. We have also seen important economic changes which have affected the very structure of most companies, often resulting in businesses undertaking changes to their premises to allow for logistical and organisational adjustments to be made.
On a domestic level, lockdown saw a huge surge in home improvement projects. This seemingly endless increase in activity may be great for the economy, but it takes its toll on the environment,
Here at One Waste, we have the necessary equipment to separate and extract all waste types in our state of the art Transfer Station. Our team are committed to minimising their environmental impact and we look to recycle as much waste as possible.
The July 2021 report by Defra UK Statistics revealed that in 2018 the UK generated 67.8 million tonnes of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste (C&D waste). We can expect figures for recent times to be even higher.
So let’s take a look at the effects that all of this waste could have on the environment.
Effects of construction waste on the environment
Construction waste can have a huge environmental impact. Due to the very uses of construction materials, most of these are not easily biodegradable. Add to this the voluminous nature of these materials and it’s easy to see how improper treatment or dumping could rapidly result in mountains of waste dotting the landscape for centuries or millennia.
In addition to this not inconsiderable impact, many substances present in construction and decorating materials can be toxic.
The incorrect disposal of these materials can result in land, air and water pollution, posing a serious health hazard.
Reducing the impact: construction waste disposal regulations
The UK’s environmental agency has strict duty of care guidelines as concerns the classification and disposal of waste. All parties involved in the generation, classification and disposal of waste have a legal responsibility to ensure that the disposal of construction waste materials is carried out in accordance with these guidelines.
That aside, contractors can actively participate in reducing waste by applying a series of measures within their own businesses. These measures include:
1. Reducing and reusing leftover materials
Accurately calculating the amount of materials needed for each project is a proactive way of reducing waste and eliminating waste treatment costs as well as unnecessary overheads.
Having a well organised and up to date inventory of materials in stock can also help avoid over ordering. Actively seeking out areas in projects where surplus materials from previous projects can be reused is also a good practice.
2. Recycling and Repurposing
Some materials used in construction such as metals and wood can be repurposed. It is useful to have a network of professionals who may be interested in purchasing these materials from you.
These materials can also be recycled, as can concrete, asphalt and glass.
It is essential that all workers participate in a company’s waste management program for any measures to be effective. For this reason it is imperative that all workers are fully trained in their company’s construction waste disposal methods and that everyone understands the implications of deviating from best practices.
What are the legal duty of care obligations regarding the disposal of construction waste materials?
Everyone involved in the production and handling of waste has a legal duty of care as regards both commercial and residential construction waste disposal.
It is imperative that all waste handled and disposed of follows the established waste classification system to ensure the highest levels of safe disposal and recycling.
Classifying waste with the correct code will ensure that it is sent on to the correct authority and centre for the treatment of this particular type of waste.
Following duty of care regulations for the disposal of construction waste materials is a legal requirement and failure to do so can constitute a criminal offence, resulting in legal prosecution.
The good news, though, is that the system works. The July 2021 Defra UK Statistics report reveals that out of the 67.8 million tonnes of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste generated in the UK in 2018, 62.6 million tonnes was recovered. This represents a recovery rate of 92.3%.
With continued efforts, we may all be able to see even greater levels of materials recovery in the near future.
If you are looking for a professional waste management company with proactive environmental waste treatment methods, get in touch with One Waste Clearance today. At One Waste we recycle or recover over 99% of all the waste we collect. We take your environmental concerns seriously and are always happy to discuss our construction waste disposal methods with you. Get in touch today on 020 8685 9393, our friendly team will be happy to help.