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Commercial Flooring News

Be Smart About Waste And Make A Packet

Top tips for dealing with waste materials

Good waste management practice on site can help you save money, reduce waste, comply with environmental legislation and create a positive business image.

Many construction companies are losing thousands of pounds on every contract through materials damaged on-site due to poor housekeeping or over-ordering. The average cost of materials that are disposed of in skips comes to £1,346.35 through off-cuts and unused materials.

Much of the 86.9m tonnes of waste that ends up in skips consists of packaging such as pallets, shrink wrap or plastic sheeting.

This could account for as much as 60% of site waste, which means companies are paying twice for it – once when the material is delivered and then again when the packaging is removed by the waste collector.

Many suppliers will collect their pallets, even broken ones, meaning vast quantities of waste can be reused or recycled; the resulting cost benefits can be enormous.

Benefits of good waste management practice are:

Lower disposal costs, eg reduced skip hire, landfill tax and gate fees;
Avoiding waste transportation costs;
Greater reuse/recycling of materials on site, saving on raw
materials purchased; and I Lower material wastage.

Buying and storing materials:

Order the amount of materials needed as accurately as possible;
Arrange for ‘just in time’ deliveries to reduce storage/ material losses;
Consider the source of materials: are there alternative cost-efficient, safer or recyclable materials available? Is the supplier certified with environmental standards? Quality and recycled materials may prove cheaper.
Consider the packaging used for materials delivered to the site – can this be reduced or recycled?
Ensure deliveries are rejected if damaged or incomplete;
Make sure storage areas are safe, secure and weatherproof (where required);
Store liquids away from drains, water courses and in bunded areas to prevent pollution; and
Consider the packaging used to protect materials ordered – can it be reduced or recycled or returned to the supplier?

Site activities:

Ensure options for the use of reclaimed and recycled materials that meet the materials’ specification are considered;
Re-use suitable spoil, demolition materials and surplus construction material arising from the works on site to avoid the need to transport materials; and
Keep the site tidy to reduce material losses and waste as it enhances control of materials.

Training and awareness:

Promote good practice awareness as part of health and safety training for workers onsite;
Develop toolbox talks;
Develop policies and waste strategies; and
Appoint one of your staff as a site ‘waste champion’ to oversee the policy implementation.

Waste segregation:

Segregate different types of waste as they are generated – there should be skips for wood, inert and mixed materials, though a skip for metals may generate income;
If there is not enough room for multiple skips, get a licensed waste management company to sort through your waste off site;
Keep pallets out of the skips, as they take up a great deal of space; and
Use the Waste Aware Construction website where you can create posters in line with the National Colour Coding Scheme to identify skips easily.

The right of the law:
Complete waste transfer notes before any waste leaves the site;
Ensure all waste carriers have a valid waste earner’s registration certificate;
Ensure all wastes are disposed of at a licensed site; and
Register your site if you produce any hazardous waste.

If your company isn’t big enough to implement your own plan, but there are third parties that can undertake the following:
Audit of your current practices
Compile an assessment of your compliance with the waste regulations and identify areas for improvement, together with a full detailed report of findings;
Develop for you a Site Waste Management Plan that will comply with regulations and produce reports and summaries of practices and cost savings.
Investigate alternative practices rather than landfill and put you in touch with local operators who will provide those ser vices.

This article, which originally appeared in Construction News, was supplied to CFJ by Tara Management Services.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them online at