The Construction Industry Has A Waste Problem
Did you know Australia’s construction and demolition industry generates more than 27 million tonnes of waste production each year? It's the largest source of managed waste in Australia. While generated on Australian building sites, not all waste is diverted to our domestic landfills. We export glass, plastic, tyres, paper/cardboard, and some hazardous waste. However this will no longer be the status quo.
As they tackle their own waste problems, more countries are now banning or reducing waste imports from Australia which is going to create a problem for the industry. Effective strategies to manage construction waste are critical in reducing the environmental impact of the construction industry. However, managing the cost and logistics of legislated requirements may be challenging, in particular for the smaller construction companies that make up the majority of the industry in Australia.
Thus we need to start considering new methods to reduce the waste we generate. Ideas for this include waste reduction (challenging the 10% wastage allowance norm), improved resource recovery, greater use of recycled materials, investment in innovative technologies, and a move to greener building techniques.
Considering what you can do to reduce or recycle waste can make a big impact on the environment, your business, and the health and wellbeing of your workers.
Simple ways to manage the cost of waste to your business include:
- Encouraging the design of new builds and site layouts that produce less waste
- The use of better software and tools that improve the forecasting of the materials you need, allowing you to reduce your waste allowance from 10% to 5%
- Staggering the arrival of product to match the project schedule, and storing that product in a secure/weather safe area to reduce the risk of damage and theft
- Communicating with other teams about surplus products where they could be used instead
- Separating waste as you go into different skip bins or piles, preventing cross-contamination and improving recycling
- Liaising with local charities or community groups, particularly when removing unrequired equipment such as tapware, whitegoods, or furniture OR creating a space on your intranet where employees are invited to opt into taking items
- Contact your waste management provider to find out if there's additional services for managing site waste that you're not aware of
Get The Council or State Government Agency Involved
These bodies are well aware of waste management problems and it's no uncommon for them to introduce new policies or guidelines for a best practice approach so it's important to keep up to date.
Innovation and new technologies mean that expectations and opportunities around construction waste management are constantly changing. Tap into your Local, State or Territory Government’s waste management guidelines to make sure your operation is compliant.
Ongoing training and development is also offered through Councils and State Government agencies as well as your industry networks. Subscribe to your local network to stay up to date.
Speak To Your Supply Chain
As with the point above, the focus on waste management and environmental improvement is cross industry so you should liaise with your suppliers on what they can do to help achieve your goals. There could be services you're not taking advantage of that - even if it appears inconsequential - can have a bigger impact when grouped together. If your supplier isn't interested in working with you on process improvement then find one who is. Incorporate waste management into your RFT documentation.
What Are Vanguard Wireless Doing?
At Vanguard Wireless we offer customers a recommissioning services, where used devices can be serviced and returned to the customer for use on another site. Generally the cost for such a service is minimal - freight and nominal fee for time - and turned around within the week. Software is updated, components are cleaned, and chips changed or replaced.
We also recycle components from damaged devices, a business policy which has enabled us to fulfil orders even when dealing with supply chain delays.
Lastly our continuous innovation mindset ensures our smart systems remain industry leading, with 3rd party integrations with software and hardware providers such as HammerTech, Procore, and Irongate Solutions. It means an investment now will remain beneficial to your business for the long term. You can read more about our integrations HERE.
It's important to remember that waste management should include the review of your entire business so you can promote a culture of sustainability and process improvement; everyone can get involved in it.