It cannot be denied that going green has not just become the voice of a new generation and the primary motives of nations and countries across the world. Whether small or large, everyone is suddenly aware of the impact their choices are having on our planet, and they are educating the future generations on it. From reusing plastic bags when shopping, to metal straws, bamboo toothbrushes and sourcing recyclable packaging, there are a variety of sustainable options out there when people go looking for it.
However, no matter how many individual choices we make, industries also need to be implementing change too. Allegedly, the construction industry contributes up to 4% of pollution. Though this may at first seem small, on a grand scale, this is pretty large, as it is a microcosm of the wider problem and suggests how we rely on environmentally damaging and yet easy habits. This is because of the use of equipment, to hazardous materials used and waste management. For those who are weighed down by wanting to be more eco-conscious, there are a variety of ways to lighten your fossil fuel intake and harmful chemical production.
From just simply hyper organising the way your business runs, to adopting the use of recycled materials, you shouldn’t shy away from becoming eco-friendly. Infact, you should be proud of it, as this will make you more attractive to potential clients and customers.
Manage Waste Removal With Large Skips
First and foremost, one of the key things you should implement within your construction company is a foolproof waste management system on your construction site. The average construction business generates around 100 metric tonnes of waste each year, with a quarter of this going towards landfill. Generally speaking, the less waste you produce, the less waste you will send to landfill. Which will, in turn, create higher profit margins because of the disposal costs.
The staggering statistics does not stop there, the UK construction industry is reported to consume 400 million tonnes of materials per year, which takes up approximately 32% of landfill.
Simply put, a hyper-organised waste management system could decrease the amount of waste that you use. A variety of large skips can be used to separate materials, such as from the toxic to the non-toxic, and, if all kept together and not contaminated, this means that they can be recycled. Especially, as it is estimated that up to 90% of construction waste can be recycled.
In order to keep track of a new waste management system, be efficient by keeping track of the number of materials that you order. Try to order only as much as you need, and if there are any scraps then see if these can be resold to other construction companies or reused in future projects.
Though this is all well and good, you need to make sure that you are not placing hazardous materials into a skip as they cannot be disposed of. A list of hazardous materials that you cannot place in a skip are below:
- Gas Bottles
- Fluorescent Tubes
- Light Bulbs
- Vehicle Batteries.
Use Locally Sourced and Recycled Materials
To also improve your construction company’s green footprint, start sourcing and using locally sourced and recycled materials in your construction methods. As previously mentioned, this could become a pivotal change in your marketing and branding, making you more attractive to the millennial consumer.
There are a variety of different materials that you can source to provide eco-friendly construction. A list of these are below:
- Using steel beams and columns that are from a dismantled or demolished building
- Demolition arisings (crushed aggregate) which are used for landscaping or backfilling excavations
- Crushed glass used as a bedding material for paved or blocked surfaces
- Reclaimed paving stones or slabs
- Railway sleepers or telegraph poles
- Steel tubes from oil industry used as piles
- Recycled black top
- Concrete made from recycled crushed aggregate
- Concrete made from cement replacement materials such as pulverised fuel ash or ground granulated blast furnace slag.
- Geo-textiles made using recycled plastic
Do research of other local construction companies and manufacturers in your area so you can get your hands on recycled materials. Equipping yourself with the knowledge of how to obtain recycled and local producers of materials will considerably benefit you in the long run.
Also, invest and become used to construction methods using natural materials with low embodied energy and environmental impact. These include:
- Concrete reinforced with timber, bamboo or natural fibres
- Straw bales
- Materials that are accredited as responsibly sourced
Plus, limit the use of toxic paints and solvents, rather switching to non-toxic paints.
One of the main ways to know if materials are responsibly sourced and containing recycled content is to look for accreditations that the manufacturer has. The accreditations that you should keep an eye out for are BES 6001 which is the framework standard for responsible sourcing, created by BRE Global LTD. Other ones include PLASgran which is for recycled plastic and UKAS accreditations on waste management recycling.
Move construction off-site
One of the main ways to actually make your construction site more eco-friendly is to try and limit the amount of construction on-site and actually make it off-site. This is because this will reduce the over-using of construction vehicles, especially when not needed, and will overall will reduce the amount of pollution created from construction sites.
Construction sites create air, noise and water pollution. From the operation of diesel engines to demolitions, burning and working with toxic chemicals to generating plenty of dust. These can cause a range of health issues to communities within the area. Hazardous chemicals can leak into waterways, contaminating the local water solutions and damaging aquatic life.
Moving construction off-site will not only limit these issues from occurring but also they will prevent the overusing of mechanics, construction vehicles and water facilities. Not only will moving construction off-site will decrease environmental impact, but it may also increase productivity and quality of the work produced. These benefits were investigated and published in a report by the House of Lords in July in 2018, you can read the full report here.
If you find that you cannot move your construction offsite, then perhaps just be more mindful of how your building site is affecting the local and wider environment. Small changes could be implemented like installing compost toilets, switching to energy efficient construction vehicles, not overusing construction vehicles and changing the materials that you work with to prevent hazardous contamination.
Champion eco developments
You have started changing the infrastructure and organisation of your building site to become more environmentally friendly, but how can you make sure this maintained for long term? And, how can you make sure that the architecture and structures that you are building are also eco-friendly?
Simply by championing sustainable eco architectural and design methods. Whether you decide to start emphasising your passion for solar panels and low energy lighting, or you choose to equip yourself with the knowledge of eco-drainage systems and water filtration, these small ways could mean that you build domestic and commercial properties with eco methods intact.
In fact, as mentioned earlier, being green and sustainable is now more ‘in vogue’ than ever before. So, it wouldn’t be completely radical to be this way and it is the future of property development. Governments around the world are funding the development of zero-net-energy buildings and properties constructed from fully recycled materials, so simply supporting environmental change within your industry is not untoward in the slightest. Why not see if there are ways to power your construction vehicles using renewable energy sources?
From domestic to trade construction sites, Doncaster Skip Hire should be your choice to help improve your waste management on your construction site. Providing a large variety of sizes, from small to large, Doncaster Skip Hire pride themselves on being an environmentally friendly option, by offering to recycle all of your waste for you. To view their recycling services, click here.
If you would like to see pictures and dimensions of the skips they can offer you, click here to find out more.