Waste is defined as being material or substance that is discarded and no longer of use to the user. Unfortunately, there is too much waste on this planet, causing degradation and overuse of the Earth’s natural resources. To move forward, we need to change the way that we think about waste. Just because a material is old, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t useful or efficient anymore, it just means that it isn’t newly manufactured. Simply put, reusing old materials for the same or new purposes will reduce the overall amount of waste produced.
This blog post will detail not only the importance of waste management but also how using skips of various sizes can help you implement an effective and organised way to monitor, reduce and regulate the amount of waste that your construction project reduces.
One of the main important factors of establishing a sound waste management system in your business is to reduce the impact that waste has on the environment. Every day, news reports plague us with pictures and evidence of disgusting levels of waste – from plastic bags destroying aquatic life to mountains of litter on beaches and overflowing landfills. It is estimated that the construction industry alone produces 400 million tonnes of waste each year, with 32% of this ending up in a landfill. Every action, no matter how small, can contribute to waste production and it’s making these small steps that makes a bigger difference.
One of the simplest ways to create a foolproof waste management system is to become more organised. This can be done through the purchasing and hiring of skips. Skips are a frequent sight during construction projects, and yours should be no different. Organise to have varying sizes on your construction site, both large skips and small skips, and establish what waste will be collected within each skip. Presenting your waste in an organised manner will both physically and mentally keep you on top of the amount of waste that your commercial construction project generates.
During each stage of a construction project, a lot of energy is consumed. Though this is inevitable, having good waste management will improve the energy efficiency of your company. Excessive energy consumption in construction projects must be monitored and has been a focus of UK government policy and change.
A report published on energy consumption on US construction sites has been published online titled ‘Estimating energy consumption during construction of buildings: A Contractors perspective.’ Though this report is based on US findings and statistics, it is enlightening on generally how much energy is consumed during the building of commercial properties.
The report details that during the life cycle of constructing a building, energy is used at each stage. This is detailed below:
Operational Energy – The use of heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, equipment and appliances.
Embodied Energy – The use of non-renewable energy to acquire, process and manufacture building materials, to transport building materials to the site and construct, and the energy consumed to maintain, repair, restore, refurbish and replace materials.
Decommissioning Energy – Energy used for demolition/deconstruction of the building, and to transport the demolished/salvaged materials to landfill and recycling centres.
Though each stage can be improved upon to become more energy efficient, having a good waste management system will specifically benefit in reducing decommissioning energy. As mentioned previously, skips can be used in organising your waste. Organising materials by their properties and whether they are recyclable will mean that less overall energy is used by construction vehicles in transportation.
Recycle and reuse materials
Waste management is key to creating good recycling methods and will give you the knowledge of whether you can reuse and sell spare materials. Plus, recycling and reusing materials will also help reduce both embodied energy and decommissioning energy as described above.
Reusing materials will reduce the energy used to manufacture new building materials and transportation. This can be from demolished buildings or scraps from old projects.
As mentioned above, recycling waste will specifically be helpful in reducing decommissioning energy, especially through the use of skips. Using recycled materials can also be part of your waste management system as they will generate less waste overall. A large variety of waste can be recycled including paper, glass, wood, aggregates, metals, plastics, insulation, packaging, plasterboard, bricks, and more. Why not hire a range of skips with Doncaster Skips? Especially if you plan on categorising and separating waste, as Doncaster Skips can offer you discounts on hire prices if you separate recyclables. Find out more about their recycling services here.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of your construction workers and the larger community should always be on your mind during any commercial construction project. Especially as it is a legal requirement to make sure that construction sites maintain high levels of good housekeeping. Though there are many ways to do this, managing your waste effectively will improve the health and safety standards in the workplace. Below we detail how managing your waste production can improve your businesses health and safety.
Can reduce potential injuries
According to The Health and Safety Executive, there are around 1000 trips or slips on construction sites each year. Though some of these won’t be too concerning, many can result in debilitating injuries like broken bones and fractures that can not only reduce productivity and happiness in the workplace but also it can lead to legal cases, which no construction company wants to end up with.
Plus, it is estimated that many of these injuries are most likely caused by obstructions, which could be waste lying around. Having an excellent waste management system will reduce these injuries as waste can be organised and stored effectively.
Improves the health and safety of the local community
Waste doesn’t have to be produced in large physical quantities, waste can be produced in the form of dust, fumes, and chemicals. And a multiplicity of this can be created on a construction site.
What’s more, this waste can be considered hazardous to health, not only of the construction workers but also for the wider community. The accumulation of dust and fumes from construction and improper waste disposal is a form of air pollution, and when inhaled it can lead to a variety of respiratory problems.
Inefficient waste disposal can also contaminate the water supply. Leaks can occur into the water supply containing hazardous chemicals which when ingested or breathed in, can cause a variety of serious health problems and even fatalities. Hazardous chemicals can be the use of toxic paints, heavy metals like aluminium, lead and mercury, acids, disinfectants, petrol and glue. In this case, it is imperative that the use of hazardous chemicals are kept to a minimum, and if they are used, then they are monitored and disposed of properly to avoid any leaks.
Large skips will contain all of the waste in one place and will be a preventative barrier from substances leaking into the water supply. Plus, skips can contain materials that produce dust and fumes. Though, dust and fumes will be unavoidable on construction sites, having them contained will limit its production. Despite this, a range of hazardous materials cannot be disposed of in a skip including paint, therefore, make sure you switch to using to non-toxic paint.
Waste management on your commercial construction project can also benefit your businesses economy and can help you reduce costs. Though it may feel like the easiest option to simply dump all of your waste in a landfill to reduce time spent on organising, it is an investment which will benefit you both environmentally and economically.
Every construction company will know that landfill tax can be costly, especially if you are producing a lot of waste. Having a good waste management system and organising your waste into recyclables can not only reduce the amount of waste that you send to landfill but also how much you spend on landfill tax. Though you may be initially put off by the prices of hiring a skip to help reduce landfill costs, in reality, waste can cost around ten times higher than the initial skip cost. This is calculated from the loss of materials, the labour cost to handle the waste, the cost of waste storage and construction disposal, higher disposal charges and the rise of purchase costs of materials.
Maintaining a good environmental track record will also boost your company’s reputation. Being environmentally friendly will signal to others that you care about the planets future and your local community. Especially as younger generations are becoming more eco-conscious, investing in sustainable practices will keep you in business for longer.
How can I reduce my waste on a construction site?
Now that we have discussed how effective waste management can be for your construction business, below are a few general tips to reduce your waste generally on a construction site.
- Be efficient when planning how much construction materials you need; don’t over order as this could mean that more waste is produced.
- Be consistently involved from the design of a site so that eco-initiatives are prioritised.
- Minimise rework from errors and poor workmanship.
- Collect off cuts rather than order new materials.
- Repair items like pallets so they can be reused or returned to the supplier.
- Save materials to use on future projects.
Hiring a range of skips sizes is essential to conducting an efficient and resourceful waste management plan at your commercial construction project. It can be scary and bleak when we think about how much waste is annually produced by both individuals and businesses, but recognising this and making changes is essential in moving forward. To start, put good waste management in place with Doncaster Skips. Doncaster Skips offer a variety of skips for whatever construction project you have planned. Plus, Doncaster Skips can also help with recycling, from aggregates through to textiles. Contact them today here.