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The 30 per cent of all waste produced in United Kingdom comes from the construction and demolition sector making it the most significant source of waste in the country. C&D sector is estimated to produce more than 100 million tonnes of waste annually, half of this amount is recycled and approximately 25 million tonnes are disposed of in landfill (Defra, AEA Technology, bre, 2007). These results make the development of waste reduction and waste diversion strategies necessary and the collaboration between authorities and contractors particularly important.
This report is based on government material, reports, publications and case studies produced by UK organisations and consultancies. The purpose of the report is to present the reason why the Brighton and Hove council should work with local contractors and provide the way so that they can work efficiently to achieve lower levels of C&W waste and high diversion from landfill. An overview of the current government policy on construction and demolition waste, innovative reduction methods on construction projects and international good practices that are focused on the partnership between governments and construction sector will be presented to support this goal.
2. Current government policy
During the last decade, the Strategic Forum for Construction (UK government and the major construction membership organisations) and the UK Contractors Group (association for British construction contractors) have worked together in order to set targets for waste reduction and diversion from landfill.
The UK government and in particular the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), proposed to foster a move to sustainability in waste management and disposal. Identifying the C&D sector as the major source of waste, they demonstrated C&D waste as a valuable resource that can be used efficiently (Defra, 2007).
Waste strategy reviews, environmental taxes, building regulations and industry targets that were imposed over the past years, are still considered to be good practices of dropping down construction and demolition waste, maximizing diversion from landfill and improving resource efficiency.
Landfill tax introduced in 1996, is a tax on the disposal of waste which encourage the decrease of waste, the advancement of recycling or composting and the use of more environmentally friendly approaches of waste disposal. In 1996, the rate for active waste was £24 per tonne and £2 per tonne for inert materials (rocks, soils, ceramics and concrete). Today, the rates are £64 per tonne and £2.50 per tonne respectively.
Aggregates Levy first launched in 2002, is an environmental tax on the commercial exploitation of aggregate. The levy seeks to make the price of sand, gravel and stone better reflect the conservational costs associated with quarrying and encourage the use of recycled materials (HM Government, Strategic forum, 2008).
Site Waste Management Plans Regulations provided by DEFRA in 2008, require people to follow the law on managing waste and explain how waste can be handled before the start of the project. The regulation aims to manage waste at source and promote potentials of recover, recycle and maximise diversion of materials at C&D sites (Defra, 2007).
The Code for Sustainable Homes, introduced in 2006 is an environmental method, a standard for the sustainable design and construction of new buildings which aims to the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Defra's Market Transformation Programme (MTP) has developed policy roadmaps for products and materials that have environmental impact. These are window systems and plasterboards. The Government has also established commitments with the C&D sector. Companies has set their own targets in order to minimize the amount of hazardous waste, sent to landfill. The trade association of plasterboard manufacturers in cooperation with WRAP and the MTP decided on less plasterboard waste sent to landfill and higher collection and recycling rates. Meanwhile, WRAP and other programmes helped the Government to develop markets of recycled building materials (Defra, 2007).
The Construction Products Association has committed to decrease construction packaging waste by 20% till 2012.
In 2008, the government published the Sustainable Construction Strategy, a joint government and industry plan that intended to halve waste disposed of in landfill by 2012 compared to 2008. The 50% reduction would be achieved by taking advantage of waste reduction, reuse, recycle and energy recovery. Among the proposed targets was waste neutral construction, by 2015, leading up to zero solid waste to landfills and zero wasted energy (HM Government, Strategic forum, 2008).
3. Examples of innovation on construction projects to reduce waste and maximize recycling.
Implementing good practice waste management on construction projects can help to reduce waste and maximize recycling.
The adoption of a good Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) linked into a Material Logistics Plan (MLP) is considered to be an innovative example. Material Logistics Plan (MLP) is a plan that targets to good management of materials used in design and construction projects and to waste minimization. SWMP is a plan that determines the type of waste and records the volume produced at all stages of the construction or demolition project. It also promotes reuse, recycling and recovery of waste and reduces fly-tipping by providing a full audit trail of useless material which is removed from the construction areas (WRAP, 2007). According to a case study produced by WRAP, Wilson James and Astra Zeneca (2010), well planned material and waste logistics play important role in sustainable construction in UK. Additional advantages of the practice were the decrease in vehicle movement, the reduction of waste sent to landfill and a recycling rate at 96%.
Construction Consolidation Centre (CCC) aims to the efficient delivery of construction materials from suppliers to construction sites. It is an innovative practice where materials are 'consolidated'. The consolidation is a process which allows various part-loads to be combined into single shipments and less vehicles to deliver the goods (Constructing Excellence, 2012).
Waste collection logistics are also a key of waste reduction and recycling.
The case study produced by the collaboration of WRAP, the Birmingham New Hospital Joint Venture and Premier Waste (2010) suggests that fixed compactors are a special collection method. The reduced frequency in vehicle movements and in waste collection, the utilisation of vehicle capacity on loaded trips and a more than 93% recycled material are significant outcomes which prove the value of the removal of mixed waste on space-limited sites. A supplementary example of techniques resulting in restricted movements of the compactable material from the site, is a mobile compactor. This service also achieved a notable recycling rate, ranged from 85 to 95% (WRAP, 2010).
The waste controller is a tracking information system and is considered to be an additional innovative model. As Robert Hopkins states in the WRAP's case study (2010, p.6): "The most significant benefit has been improved logistics through increased control of movements and removing the requirement for time-consuming recording and reporting of waste consignments on site. It has simplified waste logistics with the ability to track split consignments on a single barcode, which historically would have taken hours of paperwork to accurately record".
4. A review of worldwide good practices with local and central government working with the construction sector.
Countries around the world, have admitted that C&D waste is a huge environmental problem. As a result, measures have been taken to encourage the production of less C&D waste using methods that can be further adopted by the UK central and local government.
In Australia, the government has taken the approach of collaboration with C&D sector, central and local governments on waste. The WasteWise was a Construction Programme (1995-2001) which was designed by the government and 5 leading companies from the C&D industry who had volunteered their involvement. The aims of the programme were the minimisation of waste sent to landfill and the rising recycling rates. Furthermore, in 2002 the Department of the Environment and Heritage in partnership with organisations and agencies published a guide that aimed at diverting concrete and masonry materials from landfill into new uses. Nalawala Hall integrates the first recycled concrete load-bearing foundation slab in the world. The council's recycling operation produced the concrete in partnership with Metromix, a local concrete supplier (Edge Environment, 2011). Furthermore, state and local authorities has developed their own plans to encourage C&D waste minimisation in their region (Gritten, 2007).
In order to reduce the levels of C&D waste and achieve maximum diversion and reuse of materials, the Dutch government has set a variety of policies; among them are 20 voluntary agreements with C&D industries. The contents of the agreements are the control, prevention and reuse of materials and the use of SWMPs. The government also bonuses the companies who use recycled aggregates. As a result, the Netherlands have succeed in diverting more than 95% of useless materials to recycling and disposal away from landfill (Gritten, 2007).
Another example of co-operation is this of Alberta Environment, Alberta Construction Association and the Canadian Home Builders' Association who in 2008, decided to work together in developing a C&D waste reduction program (Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, 2010).
5. Discussions and Conclusion
Worldwide examples demonstrate that governments seek the co-operation with construction sector in order to reduce the generation of C&D waste and promote programmes which can prevent, reuse or recycle the construction materials. The use of market mechanisms and volunteer agreements are the basic ideas through which the governments try to encourage companies to comply and co-operate. UK government has also set a range of policies and goals over the last years in order to reduce the high volumes of construction waste using both incentivisation and punishment. The Brighton and Hove council has to co-operate with the central government, take examples of the innovative UK construction projects and the international practices and try to make relationship with the local industries and builders work so that maximum diversion of waste from landfill and waste reduction can be achieved.