There's No Time To Waste

Reducing construction waste can be easier than you think. Making small changes to things you already do can make a massive difference. 

Below is a starter for ten

  • Consider what materials you need and when you will need them.
  • Consider if leftover materials could be used on another job or donated to local community projects.
  • Put the recycling bins next to the skip to make it easy to recycle.
  • Provide drinking water onsite to reduce the need for disposable drink bottles.
  • Measure twice, cut once to avoiding creating waste and always double check the plans.

Trash talk

  • Make waste management part of site induction. 
  • Discuss reducing and managing waste in site meetings. 
  • Track progress and promote good work to motivate the team. 

Scrapping the old way of doing things 

  • Reduce risk of damage from weather events by covering materials and using a pallet to keep timber off the ground. 
  • Order only the quantity that you will use.  Have an arrangement with suppliers to return any unused product. Reject and return materials which have been damaged during transit.
  • Keep stored materials clean, dry and away from high traffic areas.
  • Move materials as little as possible – breakage is more likely when things are being carted around. Store materials in the right place as soon as they arrive.
  • Order without packaging if possible.  Purchase from suppliers that accept packaging returns.  
  • Most suppliers allow frame and truss delivery without packaging – ask your supplier is this is possible.

One man’s trash, another’s treasure

  • Collect offcuts and use these first – any offcuts longer than your forearm are worth saving.
  • Return or donate unused and salvaged materials.
  • Have a think about local community groups, schools and charities which might be able to use the waste materials. 
  • Before the end of the project do a waste audit to prepare for final site clean-up.

Don’t be so trashy

  • Where materials can’t be reduced or re-used, recycle them.
  • Cardboard, paper and glass and some plastics can often be recycled. Make it easy to do this on site.
  • Find out about recycling options or product take-back schemes in your area – e.g. for plasterboard, concrete, plastics, and metals.
  • Check out this how-to guide for reducing construction waste on site.
  • Let us know any other tips that work for you onsite!

Quiz: What is your waste rating?

Are you waste wise? Take our quizzes to find out your waste alter ego and discover how your on-site waste management practices measure up! 

Case study: Naylor Love 

Watch the video below to find out about Naylor Love's pilot project, which diverted over 90% construction waste from landfill. 

This project, run in collaboration with Auckland Council and others, shows how diverting resources from landfill can reap benefits for both businesses and the environment. The waste trial was carried out at a construction site on Auckland University of Technology’s (AUT) North Campus. The trial involved the separation of resources on site and making changes to how Naylor Love used and disposed of their leftover building products and materials.

To see the full case study, or other case studies head to the Beacons website