The wider topic of waste


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1.1 Introduction to chapter one

This chapter introduces the problems associated with the wider topic of waste in construction which then leads on to focus on the research topic, waste in construction, and defines what this research aims to achieve.

1.2 Background to the problem

Economic development in the United Kingdom (UK) and the more developed countries generally have evolved in a way which, more often than not, favours linear production patterns. That is, materials are extracted from the earth, processed into a product (adding value) and finally disposed of when they are of no further of use. This is reflected by the strong correlation of economic output and waste produced (DETR, 2000a, pt 1, pp. 15-17).

The result of this pattern is the production of massive quantities of waste. In England and Wales, around 400 million tonnes of waste are produced annually.

In the past, the simplest and most cost effective way of dealing with the waste from the first four categories in table 1.1 was to dump it at landfill sites. A waste management strategy which relies on this method is not sustainable and has negative impacts on the environment and society. Landfill sites can pose both a local and global threat. Locally, they can contaminate surrounding soils, compromise the quality of ground water and be a source of airborne odour nuisance. Furthermore, there are growing concerns over their effect on human health (FoE, 2002). On a global scale, landfill sites are contributing to climate change. They are a major producer (as can be seen in figure 1.1) of methane, a 'greenhouse gas' far more potent than carbon dioxide.

Another traditional way of dealing with waste, incineration, also has its impacts. Incinerators emit to air, dioxins, heavy metals, dust particles and acid gases - potential hazards to human health - and the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Incinerator ash, another by-product, is heavily contaminated and generally has to be land filled (FoE, 2001a).

Production of waste is a reflection of unnecessary resource use. Large volumes of materials, from which value could be recovered, are taken out of the economic chain by their premature disposal. New resources have to be extracted and processed as a result of such action. Quarries scar our countryside and remove natural habitats and prime agricultural land.

Extraction and processing of raw material result in emissions of greenhouse gasses and further resource use, not to mention noise and dust pollution. The heavy Lorries used to transport quarry products are intrusive in rural areas, the vicinity of quarries, place a heavy burden on the surrounding highway which is often not suitably constructed for such loading.

Continuing the linear production pattern and consigning valuable resources is a "wasted opportunity" (DETR, 2000a, pt I, p. II). A move towards a production pattern, where value is recovered from waste, will be necessary to develop sustainably in the future. Relatively recent measures, introduced to limit the impacts of landfill sites will perhaps reduced their potential to pollute and cause harm. Despite, or perception of this, it has become extremely difficult to establish new landfill sites due suitable locations and other constraints. Proposed new sites meet strong planning oppositions, greater planning pressures and increasing future liabilities. Till a decreasing reserve of landfill space, especially in urban locations where waste traditionally sent to landfill is produced. Different ways of dealing with waste are a central theme of sustainable development, the concept which the international community recognises and which has begun influence policy of national governments. The current UK government has introduced revised strategies for sustainable development that (DETR, I999a) are recognition of the role the construction industry can play, a supplementary role in a sustainable construction has also been developed (DETR, 2000b).

The commitment towards sustainable development, along with pressures arise scarce landfill space and European directives, have lead to a revised strategy (DETR, 2000a). The overriding aims of the waste strategy are to:

  • break the link between economic growth and waste production
  • put waste which is produced to good use through re-use, recycling, composite recovery of energy (p. 15).

To achieve these aims a number of policies are being, or will be used, including the application of economic instruments and regulation of waste producers. If these particular policies are to be effective the level of taxation will have to outweigh the cost of introducing new systems and methods, and regulations will have to be perceived as having well enforced, significant penalties for non compliance.

If we are to achieve sustainable development, the government's policies to reduce waste must be effective. At the same time, business managers must be able to make informed choices with regards to the introduction of systems to minimise waste and the costs these involve. If the policies are not effective, the costs of implementing and running such systems may put those businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

1.3 Construction management issues

The construction and demolition industry accounts for nearly one fifth of waste produced (table 1.1), whilst contributing around 10% to the economy (DETR, 2000b, p.7). It is clearly a large producer of waste. Waste in construction arises from many sources (figure 1.2). A significant amount, around thirteen million tonnes, consists of material delivered to site and thrown away unused (DETR, 2000b, p.1 0). Better design, planning and site operation can greatly reduce waste generated. The remaining waste which is produced can be put to another use rather than sent for disposal. A study in 1994 (Humphreys) found that the industry currently re-uses 29% of the waste it produces for low grade uses and another 4% is crushed to a graded product. A further 30% is used for landfill engineering whilst agricultural use and illegal tipping account for an additional 7%. This leaves just 30% for landfilling which may appear, on a cursory glance, to be a good level of performance.

However, as the industry is so waste intensive - it is the largest single source controlled waste (Kwan,r 2001, p. 9) - the actual amount of construction and demolition (C&D) waste disposed at landfill sites (around 42 million tonnes including used for landfill engineering) accounts for approximately 40% of the total landfill. Some landfill sites will contain even greater proportions of C&D, Ferguson et al. (1995) state that "C&D waste can account for more than 50% waste deposited in a typical landfill" (p. 1). A reduction in construction waste going to landfill is therefore a priority, government is raising the level of landfill tax annually and is introducing a levy with the aim of providing a financial incentive to businesses to reduce the amount of waste they produce and stimulate the market for secondary materials.

In line with European directives the government is also implementing legislation that will increase the cost of running landfill sites. These costs, which arise from landfill engineering standards, more onerous aftercare (i.e. post closure) requirement is imposing stricter rules on how waste is disposed, will be passed on to the construction businesses hence providing further incentive to minimise waste. Furthermore, certain industries now have legal duties with regards to waste issues. Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) legislation (EC, 1996) requires certain industries to "abide by the general principle that waste production should be avoided; and that where waste is produced it should be recovered unless technically and economically impossible" (DETR, 2000a, pt 1, p. 36). Producer responsibility legislation has been implemented to cover certain industries, to ensure the products they produce are easier to reclaim or at the very least, safe to dispose of at the end of their useful lives. Such regulation could be applied to the construction industry in the future. It is of utmost importance that the management of construction firms are able to make informed decisions regarding the implementation of systems and practices to bring about waste minimisation. Some companies may be more pro-active in introducing these measures, but there are set-up and running costs involved. If these costs are greater than what can be saved by minimising waste, companies who pursue these practices will be putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage. For such a scenario, the companies who 'carry on as usual' will benefit and the government's objectives will not be achieved. It would therefore be useful for both business and the government to have information on whether their policies are 'pitched at the right level' and how likely they are to bring about a reduction in waste.

1.4 Research Goals

The aim of this study is to investigate whether current and possible future government policies on waste are likely to be effective in reducing the amount of construction waste sent to landfill. Two research questions are to be used to carry out this investigation and can be seen in tables 1.2 and 1.3. Each question has an accompanying objective which acknowledges constraints on study population and describes exactly what this study is investigating.

Null and alternative hypothesis are given as yardsticks to which the outcome of this study will be compared against.

Research question no. 1

What effect will the increases in landfill tax introduction of the aggregates levy have ( construction waste sent to landfill?

Objective no. 1

To assess the opinion of construction profession Wales on whether increasing tax burdens, in government policy, will be effective in reducing, construction waste sent to landfill.

Null hypothesis no. 1

That the current government policy. With regulations tax and aggregates levy, will have no effect or construction waste sent to landfill.

Alternative two-tail

Hypothesis no. 1 that the current" government policy, with regards to tax and aggregates levy, will influence the amount construction waste sent to landfill.

Alternative one-tail

Hypothesis no. 1 that the current government policy. with regards to tax and aggregates levy, will reduce the amount construction waste sent to landfill.

Research question no.2

What are the likely effects of legal requirements parties involved in construction projects to waste production?

Objective no. 2

To assess the opinion of construction profession Wales on whether a legal requirement on clients and contractors to minimise waste production we effective in reducing the amount of construction landfill.

Null hypothesis no. 2

That a legal requirement to minimise will have no amount of construction waste sent to landfill.

Alternative two-tail

Hypothesis no. 2 that a legal requirement to minimise waste will in amount of construction waste sent to landfill.

Alternative one-tail

Hypothesis no. 2 that a legal requirement to minimise waste will remount of construction waste sent to landfill.

1.5 Outline methodology

The research methodology used to achieve the research aim is:

  • Set initial research questions, objectives and hypotheses
  • Conduct a literature review and exploratory interview
  • Refine research questions, objectives and hypotheses and define sub-hypotheses
  • Carry out initial design of the main research instrument - a postal questionnaire and receive feedback
  • Refine questionnaire, select study population and sample, and administer survey
  • Collate, present and analyse quantitative data gathered using descriptive and inferential statistics
  • Present qualitative data gathered from "any other comments" section of questionnaires and use in discussion of results
  • Draw conclusions and offer recommendations

1.6 Dissertation contents

The next chapter reviews the existing literature related to the study topic. Chapter three gives a detailed account of the research methodology. Results and analyses are presented in chapter four and discussed in chapter five. Conclusions and recommendations are given in chapter six and a list of the material referred to in the course of the research are given in chapter seven.

1. 7 Summary of chapter one

The problems associated with waste have been presented and the topic of research, waste in construction, has been introduced. The aims and objectives of the research have been defined along with the outline methodology.

2.1 Introduction to chapter two

The literature review gives an account of the existing information in the field (research). The material reviewed is discussed, in relation to the study aim. The way in which the material was gathered and the scope of the search is described.

2.2 Literature review methodology

The first step of the literature review was to search relevant databases. Keyword searches were conducted via the internet on library catalogues of a number of (institutions, the ICE library and British Library. Further material was sought find Technical Index - Construction Information Service, a database of useful information available from the RIBA. The internet was used to download government reports for published material by many other organisations. Back issues of trade magazines journals were searched for relevant articles.

Once the first set of material had been gathered, references to other material were to obtain further work of importance. The status of each piece of material depended largely on its nature and source. Research commissioned by the government is well funded, conducted by reputable bodies and produces robust results. Paper journals are perhaps the next level of importance, as the work is peer reviewed. Lesser importance are articles in trade magazines, which are often based on sing opinions or interpretations of events.

2.3 Scope of the literature review

The literature review mainly concentrates on the more robust material, such as government or industry sponsored research and reports. Opposing view points; from a less robust source but are included to provide balance. Much other material relevant to the area of research exists, but time, cost and logistical limitations not all could be reviewed. Whilst this may give rise to criticism, the author believes a sufficient body of material was reviewed to justify the research.

2.4 The literature review

Waste is just one issue being tackled in the governments over arching strategy towards sustainable development. A brief review of the history and evolution of the sustainable development agenda in the UK is covered before the review concentrates on the specific issues of waste and construction.

2.4.1 The sustainable development agenda

In the latter part of the twentieth century it became ever more clear that the largely unchecked development of the past was beginning to have serious negative effects on the environment. Worse still, the potential for less developed countries to exploit the natural resources at their disposal was recognised and there was real concern that the Earth simply would not be able to sustain unchecked development on a global scale. As a result a new approach to development was put forward; the concept of sustainable development. Sustainability, that is the ability to "keep going" (Chambers, 1999), is the goal and sustainable development is the path to this goal. In "Our common future", the 1987 report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), it is summarised as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"(p.43). Sustainable development should not be a hindrance to economic development, in fact this is a critical element in ensuring people all over the world can meet their basic needs. These needs can be as vital and basic as water, food and clothing and many of them are only obtainable by purchase, thus the need for work. However, it is critically important that the environment, including the natural and built environment and society are not treated un-equitably in the necessary quest for economic development.

This approach is known as the triple bottom line, where development must return in economic, environmental and social terms. If any element does return, or at least break even, then the development is not truly sustainable. Sustainability cannot be achieved in isolation. International co-operation ecological disasters are not respecters of manmade political boundaries. They recognised this and as a result, 178 countries met at the UN Conference OJ and Development (UNCED or otherwise known as the Earth Summit) in Brazil, 1992. At this unique gathering the multitude of nations signed up to a number of ....These included Agenda 21 (UNCED, 1992a), an action plan for the world implementation of sustainable development and the Rio Declaration on EN and Development (UNCED, 1992b) which defined twenty seven principle individual nations in preparing their sustainable development strategies.

2.4.2 Sustainable Development in the UK

In the UK, the Conservative government of the time published the country strategy for sustainable development in 1994. The strategy was one of the produced by an individual nation and it addressed many issues regarding the environment, and resource use. As a member of the European Union, the strategy shaped by the publication of Towards Sustainability (EC, 1992). A change to a Labour government in 1997 initiated a review of policy and the publication of the consultation document 'Opportunities for change' (DETR) major outcome of the review was the introduction of a social dimension, mi former strategy. The review also focused on particular areas of importance in detail through supplementary consultation papers and the construction industry of the areas considered (DETR, 1998b).

2.4.3 The current UK sustainable development strategy

Two years after election the Labour government published its new strategy (DETR,1999a), which is current today. Its focus is on ensuring "a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come" (ch. I, par. 1.1) through the aims of:

  • Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone
  • Effective protection of the environment
  • Prudent use of natural resources; and
  • Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment

As a devolved region of the UK, Wales has its own policy initiative which is based on the UK Strategy. The National Assembly for Wales produced a consultation document (NA W, 2000) which also acts as a draft scheme for sustainable development in the region.

Whilst the government recognises that sustainable development covers a broad area, focusing on particular areas can help achieve the overall.aim (ch. 3, par. 3.2). Around 150 core indicators have been drawn up to help monitor progress in each area over time and a subset of fifteen key 'headline' indicators (DETR, 1999b) will give a broad overview of achievement. One priority area identified in the strategy (DETR, 1999a) is "tackling waste" (ch. 3,par. 3.26) and many of the core indicators reflect this. "Waste a risings and management" (indicator H 15, DETR, 1999b, p. 44) is a headline indicator, reinforcing the importance of the problem. Data is gathered on types and volumes of waste, where it originates and where it is disposed of This is useful in tackling the waste problem and also helps measure the extent and efficiency of primary resource use (DETR 1999a, ch. 6, par.6.11). A "key action" identified in the Strategy (ch. 6, par. 6.13) was the then imminent publication of a new draft strategy on waste (DETR, 1999c). This was followed by an adopted Waste Strategy (DETR, 2000a).

'A better quality of life' (DETR, 1999a) highlights the role the construction can play in achieving sustainable development. From an economic perspective construction industry accounts for 10% of GDP in the UK and employs 1.5 million people par. 6.72). The construction process and certain products (e.g. buildings), energy and materials and give rise to waste and emissions. There are man which the industry could become less environmentally detrimental, whilst further to the economy and social community it works within. Therefore (strategy for sustainable construction was published (DETR, 2000b). This discussed in section 2.4.6. The government recognises that "improved resource efficiency is essential sustainable development" (DETR, 1999a, ch. 3, par. 3.26) and points out the producing volumes of waste which can be expensive and increasingly difficult to dispose of (ch. 6, par. 6.5). To tackle this issue several tools will be used to measure, voluntary agreements with, for example, the construction and aggregate industries will set targets for improvement.

If satisfactory performance is not observed the strategy clears the way for government economic instruments. New taxes, such as the aggregates tax, will be introduced with existing ones such as the landfill tax (Legislation, 1996a), will be increased 5.7 - 5.13).

Furthermore there is scope to increase regulation of the waste, construction industries if this is deemed necessary to ad ieve sustainable objectives. The taxation and regulation regime is looked at in further detail. 2.4.5. Is the Labour government's strategy truly sustainable? Well although some were made regarding delivery and realisation of the strategy, Friends of the (1999) released a press statement following the strategy's publication which

"The Department of Environment clearly understands sustainable development the challenge of tackling global poverty without trashing the planet".

2.4.4 Waste strategy for England and Wales

The publication of Waste Strategy 2000 (DETR, 2000a) fulfilled a key action of the sustainable development strategy (DETR, 1999a). It also satisfies several obligations set by the EU, including the Waste Framework Directive (EC, 1991a), the Hazardous Waste Directive (EC, 1991b), the Packaging and Waste Directive (EC, 1994b) and the Landfill Directive (EC, 1999a). It builds on previous work, including the former administration's strategy (UK Government, 1995) and the more recent draft strategy on waste (DETR, 1999c). It discusses in detail targets for reducing municipal, commercial and industrial wastes, and whilst construction waste is not covered specifically by these targets, the overall aim of the strategy is to reduce the volume of all waste streams. A move away from linear to cyclical production processes is vital for sustainable patterns of development (see figures 2.1 and 2.2). The products we produce must become easier to re-use or recycle and more secondary material must be used in their manufacture.

Waste managers will be expected to consider the Best Practicable Environmental Option, or BPE decision making. This will inevitably account of the waste hierarchy, process whereby waste is minimal progressive consideration of the figure 2.3. Reduction is at the top of the hierarchy because it offers the greatest be environmentally, socially and economically. Once waste is there are only two other option recycle, before it has to be disposed reducing the production of was. The strategy points to 'ecodesit is a process to identify how to c with less.

Reusing products, for the same or different use, is next in priority as this involves less input of energy and resources than recycling. In addition, producers will be expected to make their products easier to re-use. The last option before disposal or energy recovery, is recycling. The process of recycling creates input material for the production process, reducing pressure on virgin raw material. In many cases the recycled material is in a 'higher state' than the raw material that would otherwise be required and significant energy savings in the production process can be made. Such an example would be metal waste which can simply be melted down and reprocessed in place of using raw material which is expensive and complex to extract and refine.

Where disposal has to be used, the 'proximity principle' should be applied which "requires waste to be disposed of as close to the place of production as possible" (DETR, 2000a, pt I, p. 42). On its publication, there were doubts expressed that the strategy does not do enough to break the linear production process. FoE stated that the strategy "has failed to remove the threat of scores of new incinerators being built" (FoE, 2000). Incinerators, or energy from waste facilities, may provide a quick solution in helping the government meet EU waste reduction targets. But their use goes against the principles of the waste hierarchy as volumes of reusable and recyclable materials will inevitably be used as fuel, removing them from the production cycle. Furthermore, the capital costs of building incinerators means that money has to be borrowed over a considerable amount of time, over which the waste input stream, must be guaranteed. This is totally contradictory to the aim of reducing waste over time (FoE, 200 Ia). In addition to this possible contradiction in policy, there are health fears related to the incineration of wastes. Damian Green of the Conservative Party noted that: The British public want more resources put into recycling. There is strong public resistance to Labour's plans to roll out up to 165 more incinerators across the country. The Conservatives want to see doorstep recycling for all moratoriums on new municipal incinerators until the evidence is clear of health risks (Conservatives, 2001). However, the government is clearly not entirely depending upon incinerator: initiatives for waste minimisation, outlined below, are described in the strat(There were also concerns that lack of funding would jeopardise the aims of. In their press release, FoE (2000) stated "whilst the strategy sets new recycling it has failed to provide the money for them to be met". The concern over funding was echoed by the Institute of Wastes Management who "welcomes the Government's waste strategy ... but feels that questions whether adequate funding will be made available to achieve the measures of the Strategy" (IWM, 2000). Money will, however, be available for recycling and re-use initiatives through Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (LTCS) (DETR, 2000a, pt 1, pp. 31-32). Research market development for secondary materials will also be eligible (p. 31) and body, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), will be able to credits. WRAP will also receive direct funding from government and its future:

  • Market facilitation
  • To promote investment in recycling
  • Research management
  • Information management
  • Advice guidance and technical support.

It will act in a similar manner to the Environmental Technology Best Practice, Programme (ETBPP) and the Construction Best Practice Programme (CBPP). Some do not agree that the LTCS will generate sufficient funds for such programmes to be effective and call for greater direct government funding. For example, "Friends of the Earth is calling for the much discredited LTCS to be abolished and the £70 million a year raised to be used to back local authority recycling schemes" (FoE, 2000). It is true the government is expecting a great deal of voluntary action from industry in order to help achieve the aims of the strategy. They will expect companies to include waste management issues in annual environmental reports (DETR, 2000a. pt 2, p. 40).

Pressure is being put on larger companies to publish such and if uptake is poor, they may become compulsory (Kwan et aI., 2001, p. 7). Pressure will be exerted increasingly by clients (especially public sector clients) for companies to have environmental management systems (EMS) which comply with ISO 14000 (ISO, 1996). A certified EMS gives clients confidence that a company is able to deliver its goods or services whilst giving due regard to their impact on the environment. Of course, client willingness to reduce environmental impact is necessary to gain full benefit of such systems. Participation in best practice bodies such as ETBPP and CBPP is encouraged. Producer responsibility initiatives, to foster BPEO decision making, will be expected to show decreases in waste risings. If this is not found to be the case, regulation under the enabling powers of the Environment Act 1995, may be imposed on particular sectors. The decision will be based on an assessment of the negative impact of waste set against the cost of alternatives to disposal. Such regulation has already been introduced in some sectors; packaging for example (Legislation, 1997). Construction is not yet under such regulation, but could well come under the spotlight due to the high volumes of waste produced.

Businesses will be expected to conduct life cycle assessments of the products they produce and procure. These identify the environmental performance of a product by examining the material, energy and waste streams from 'cradle to grave'. As well as bringing environmental benefits, business can gain by singling out area significant cost. Construction is unique in that several organisations are involved in the, 'product'. Waste can arise at various stages in a project; from the prom initial inception and brief through the design and specification stages all construction and eventual demolition of the product. Responsibility for therefore spread through the supply chain. In order to address this fragn responsibility, the government will expect to see reductions in waste ari: better management of the supply chain. Procurement policies and contr; specifications will have to increasingly reflect the need to reduce waste. Take up of these practices by business will be encouraged by the application 'polluter pays' principle, leading to increased internalisation of environment social costs into economic costs. This will be done through use of economical instruments and regulation.

2.4.5 Legislation and taxation in the waste management industry

The waste management industry is regulated by several pieces of legislation landfill sites have to be licensed under Part II of the Environmental Protect (Legislation, 1990) as amended by the Waste Management Licensing Regulation (Legislation, 1994). Some will fall under the classifications within the IP: (EC, 1996). The Landfill Directive (EC, 1999a) will also impose requirement example more onerous aftercare requirements and the banning of the co-d hazardous, non-hazardous and inert waste. This will have significant imp, UK landfill practice.

To prevent several regulatory regimes arising out of the European Directive government proposes to regulate all landfill operations under the Pollution and Control (PPC) Act 1999 (Legislation, 1999).

Some waste producing industries will be regulated by the IPPC regime and although the construction industry may not yet be one of these, it may well be targeted if reductions in the volume of waste produced are not seen. All those who produce, hold and carry controlled waste from source to landfill have obligations under the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations (Legislation, 1991) as described in a code of practice (DoE, 1996). Steps must be taken by holders and carriers to ensure waste does not 'escape' to any other place than an approved point of disposal. If separate parties are involved, each must take reasonable precautions to ensure waste is properly described before it is transferred, and subsequently dealt with in an appropriate manner. Transfer notes of each consignment of waste must be initiated before leaving the point of origin and completed at the point of disposal. They contain descriptions of the type and quantity of waste. Due to its increased potential for environmental hann and effect on human health, hazardous, or special waste, is even more tightly regulated. The Special Waste Regulations 1996 (Legislation, 1996b) defines the scope of special wastes and lays down more stringent mles with respect to the transfer of special waste. Construction and demolition waste, at 1.26 million tonnes, was the biggest single source and accounted for a quarter of all special waste in 1997/98 (DETR, 2000a, pt 2, p. 92). The application and adherence to regulations is policed by the Environment Agency (EA). Their statutory powers are defined by the Environment Act 1995 (Legislation,1995). They impose fees, based on the polluter pays principle, for the administration costs involved in granting waste management licences and keeping records of special waste movements. They have power to prosecute those who do not meet the requirements, which could in tum lead to large fines for companies that pollute. Costs in meeting regulatory standards and procedures are passed on to waste producers via the charges waste management companies make (DEFRA, 2001 b, p. 58). This is further supplemented by the landfill tax which currently stands [March 2002] at £ 12 per tonne for special waste and £2 tonne for inert waste. It gives a clear economical all waste producers to be more prudent with their resource use. In the 1999 budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the tax (waste would be increased by £1 per tonne annually with a review in 2004 (UK Government, 1999). Known as the 'landfill tax escalator', it will increase the burden of disposing of special 'waste from its level of £10 per tonne in 1999, tonne in 2004. Tax on inert waste will remain at £2 per tonne and material u landfill engineering will be exempt. This is to discourage inappropriate disp tipping, burning or disposal to water) and stem the recent trend of landfill op having to buy cheap virgin aggregates for landfill engineering as a result of tl reduction of inert waste going to landfill (FoE, 1997). George Fleming (2002), chainnan of the ICE waste management board, beli "the current level of landfill tax on inert material is appropriate" but feels the current level of landfill tax for non-inert [i.e. special waste] materials is too inhibits the re-use of construction and demolition waste". He also thinks that large quantities handled, non-contaminated soil and sub soil should no longer classified as waste, in order to "facilitate the cost effective re-use of this natural resource". FoE executive director, Charles Secrett, believes that "annual inc the landfill levy should be raised from £1 per annum to £4" (NCE, 2002). The cost of disposal alone does not reflect the environmental and social cost from raw material extraction and processing into useful products. Further reducing waste through recycling is not likely to happen whilst virgin material abundantly and cheaply available. This is a particular problem in Wales when less recycling of construction and demolition waste than in England, probably of the availability and relatively low cost of primary aggregates" (DETR, 2000 p. 115). In its waste strategy (DETR, 2000a, pt 2) the government spells out its intent address these issues through more stringent regulation of the aggregates industry through planning policy (p. 115) and by the imposition of an aggregates levy from April 2002 (p. 117). It is predicted that "the Levy will ... help tackle the present high levels of waste in the use of construction materials" (DETR, 2000a, pt 1, p. 34). The levy is made into law by the Finance Act 2001 (Legislation, 2001) and will be set at a rate of £ 1.60 per tonne of virgin aggregate extracted.

However, the quarrying industry doubts the effectiveness of the tax, stating "that despite

Government claims, the tax will bring no environmental benefit" (QPA, 2001 a). The

QPA cite research (ECOTEC, 1998) which suggests: There would appear to be alternative ways of addressing, within the planning system, both the issue of demand and the environmental impacts of aggregates supply. As mentioned above, there are also better ways of encouraging re-use of construction wastes. The case for an aggregates tax is therefore highly questionable. Furthermore, "local and national Government buy more than 40% of aggregates, so the Government is effectively taxing itself' (QPA, 2001a). It is predicted that construction projects in Great Britain will cost £385 million more following implementation of the levy. There are particular problems in NOJ1hernIreland where the proximity of a different tax "regime' means that large scale imports from the Republic are likely to take place. It is feared this "would decimate the market [for Northern Ireland's quarrying industry]" (Fleming, D., 2002). The rate of the tax is by far the highest in Europe, as can be seen in Table 2.1. However, the rate is supported by Fleming (2002) who states "the current level of aggregate tax about to be introduced is ... appropriate".

Demand for recycled products is also hoped to be stimulated by the int climate change levy (Legislation, 2000). Systems where products are c primary resources will usually require greater energy input than those v state' recycled inputs (FoE, 2001 b). Therefore if producers continue to inputs, they will increase their costs through greater use of energy which levy. Revenue raised from these environmental taxes is largely offset by reduced employer's National Insurance contributions. This means that overall, t remains about the same but the emphasis of taxation is shifted from 'gol 'evils'. However, monies distributed to governmental organisations ana aim to promote sustainable development are not offset and therefore cre; additional tax burden to industry.

2.4.6 Waste and the government's strategy for sustainable construction

The government's strategy for more sustainable construction recognises industry has a "huge contribution to make to our quality of life" (DETR, focuses on many areas and waste is a recurring theme. The strategy looks to better design in reducing waste at source. It points over specification, better supply chain management and use of standard (p. 11). In its 'ten themes for action' (p. 20), waste minimisation figures for example 're-use existing built assets', 'design for minimum waste' ant construction' . The industry is encouraged to consider whole life costs, more efficient USt and greater use of recycled materials. 'Lean construction' can be brought strong customer focus and high quality management which looks for waste value for money and continuous improvement.

These are central themes in the repo11"Rethinking Construction", published by the Construction Task Force in 1998. Lead by Sir John Egan, the Task Force describe how 're-work' accounts for up to 30% of constmction activity and that "at least 10% of materials are wasted" (p. 18). It goes on to say that whilst input costs into the construction process in the UK are "generally a third of those of other developed countries ...output costs are similar or higher". Thus "there is plenty of scope for improving efficiency and quality simply by taking waste out of construction" (p. 18). Egan, and Latham (1994) before, him believe the traditional, fragmented nature of the construction industry is a major factor in this inefficiency. An example of waste arising from the traditional ways of working is where a designer over-specifies a certain element in order to protect 'his' own interests. For example, in a car park construction the designer may specify a thick layer of graded crushed primary aggregate sub-base which will reduce the risk of failure or deterioration of that element over time and safeguards against the possibility of poor workmanship on site. This results in higher capital costs for the client, unnecessary use of primary resources and greater generation of waste due to additional excavation. But if the client were to accept some of the risk of the pavement's performance over time and the quality record of the contractor was better known, the designer would be able to specify an end-result or performance orientated element.

Integrated project teams, who are familiar and work together on several projects, are seen an essential in order to achieve such elimination of waste in the delivery process (Egan, 1998, p. 22). Partnering is seen as an integrating mechanism which will change the culture of construction and bring performance and efficiency, rather than contractual arrangements, to the fore (p. 24). Once in place, sustained improvement can be secured by focusing on eliminating waste from every activity.

This involves 'lean thinking', the systematic removal of activities which do not add value to the end customer (pp. 25-26). Such thinking could result in 'right first time' solutions, tested for build ability on computer prior to implementation on site, which will improve quality and reduce waste (p. 30). Standardisation of com] as an area where significant eftlciencies can be made (p. 30-31). The strategy for sustainable construction (DETR, 2000b) again hig: of economic instruments (pp. 11-12) and regulation, through legisl, policy (pp. 17-18), ,will help bring about the changes necessary. The principles of the waste hierarchy are evident as the re-use of ex) land is emphasised in Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 (PPG3) (DE hoped re-cycling will be encouraged and demand for virgin aggregate changes in Minerals Planning Guidance Note 6 (MPG6) (DoE, 1994 impose more stringent requirements for the opening or extension of (DETR, 1999d) will further encourage recycling by giving guidance I and location of recycling facilities.

The influence of government policy on the construction industry is pa public sector funded work accounts for some 40% of construction out 1998). Each central governmental department and agency will introdl will increasingly expect companies working for them to have such sys reflect the public sector's influence, the GCCP published guidelines (2 procurement strategy could be used to achieve sustainable constructior it recognises that "the overarching aim of procurement must always be of value for money" it notes that "much can be done on sustainability i: building relevant factors ... into contract specifications '" and by taking on the basis of whole life costs" (p. 5). As environmental and social co internalised into the monetary cost of materials and goods, the value fOJ approach will have to embrace more sustainable solutions. 'Building a better quality of life' (DETR, 2000b) gives suggested action: construction industry to pursue in order to become more sustainable (pp. points to examples of good practice (pp. 26-29). Three core national ind included in the overall strategy for sustainable development (DETR, 1999a), are presented (DETR, 2000b, p. 24):

  • Construction waste going to landfill
  • Primary aggregates output per unit of construction value
  • Amount of secondary and recycled aggregates used compared with virgin aggregates

Further indicators for sustainable construction are being developed for use at individual company level, in order for businesses to assess their sustainability performance. These will be in a similar format to the Key Performance Indicators developed following the Egan report. In order that the industry can "get going on the process of measuring its environmental sustainability credentials project by project" (M4I, 2001, p. I) industry group, Movement for Innovation (M4I), have created six sustainability indicators. One involves measuring volume of waste sent for disposal per 100 m2 of floor area constructed. The indicator can be used in the following types of construction:

  • Offices,
  • Housing,
  • Retail Outlets (Food and Non-food),
  • Hospitals,
  • Educational Buildings,
  • Infrastructure/Civil Engineering,

although it is recognised that: at this time, sources with sufficient data recorded using a consistent / appropriate measure that could be directly related to a particular construction type, could not be readily identified for ... all the proposed indicators applied to infrastructure/civil engineering (p. 2).

Performance can be checked against benchmarks for each type of constn for waste are not yet fully developed, but the ranges shown in table 2.2 e comparison of an individual project's performance to typical perfonnanc types of constmction .

In summary, the strategy for sustainable constmction is a clear message to construction industry that the government expects it to embrace the concel sustainable development. Much is expected through voluntary action but I procurement, regulation and fiscal measures will be applied to encourage a desired direction.

2.4.7 What is the construction industry doing to minimise waste?

The growing importance of the waste issue is reflected in the number of po! guidelines on waste published by the professional institutions of the UK Col industry. The majority of professionals practising in the UK constmction in have influence on clients, design and constmction generally subscribe to fat organisations:

  1. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
  2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  3. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  4. The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)

The ICE's policy on waste (ICE, 1998) states that "Civil engineers should aim to minimise waste arisings at all stages of a project" and points to specifications and good site practice to achieve this. They have published several briefing sheets (ICE, 2002a) on the subject of waste in construction. These offer an overview of government policy and strategy, the law and what can be done by members. With regards to sustainability issues, the RIBA mainly focus on the energy use of buildings, but sections on the elimination of waste, re-use and recycled materials are included in their 'Environmental Manifesto' (RIBA, 2000). In the RICS 'Global Manifesto' (2001), waste minimisation and resource use figures prominently in sections regarding sustainability. Stemming from this, three practical guidance leaflets (RICS, 2002, a, b, & c) have been published which give brief, bulleted points for those involved in the construction of houses, commercial buildings and demolition. The CIOB (2002) point to other industry groups which are "shaping the industry". These groups are taking forward the ideas of Latham (1994) and Egan (1998) and applying them to practical effect.

The CBPP and M41 are perhaps the leading examples of such groups. They are government sponsored bodies in which construction clients, designers, suppliers and " contractors can participate in demonstration projects. Such projects have so far produced a compelling case for the adoption of different ways of working, which in many cases involve targeting waste (M4I, 2000a, pp. 45-46, M4I, 2000b). The cost of setting up and implementing sustainable construction practices can be considerable (Guthrie et al., 1999, p. 115) but can result in overall savings and other benetlts, as seen in two other of the M4I's demonstration projects (2000c, 2000d). The industry's leading research organisations have extensive involvement with the issue of waste. The Construction Industry Research and Infonnation Association (CIRIA) have an ongoing research programme which has so far produced severa documents. A technical review (Guthrie et aI., 1999) presented the results of earlier showed where progress was being made and what constraints exist to gr minimisation. For designers, their obligation to their client regarding cc "specifying the use of a reclaimed material which may equal or even ex( an equivalent new material is unlikely to be viable" (p. 64). However, tl into account the cost of disposing of material which may otherwise have Ferguson et al. (1995) point to the rising cost of disposal and believe tha have a duty to their client and the public to minimise construction waste' tum, this requires the specification and use of secondary material. Designers must be confident in the material which they specify but "a gu quality is difficult to achieve for reclaimed materials" (Guthrie et aI., 199 addition, pressures on time which often occur on "routine designs '" give little incentive to be innovative" (p. 66). The designer's problems often stem from the client. Their "requirements parameters and, in particular, cost, time and quality, hinder waste minimi~ 100). Furthermore, "if the client is not prepared to take some or all of the of reclaimed materials, their adoption in the construction industry will be 100). Traditional standards and specifications have been singled out as an obsta( waste minimisation. Guthrie et al. suggest a move towards performance s better promotion of standards that do exist and avoidance of over-specific means of reducing designer's risk. The report highlights the underpinning requirements which are essential fo widespread use of secondary material. That is, a stable supply of a homoge product of which quality can be guaranteed. Meeting these requirements is logistical problem and uneconomic on smaller projects, but these problems can be overcome with centralised recycling facilities. Management has an important role to play in waste minimisation, by setting policy, allocating resources, monitoring infonnation and checking on perfonnance. The intel11alcosts of setting up management systems in this field have previously been uneconomic but the extel11alcosts "of doing nothing will be gradually increasing via new legislation." (p. 115). In the past, the industry has been reactive to govel11ment initiatives and perhaps has not seen "much of a cost pinch ... but proactive managers can expect to exploit a greater number of commercial reuse and recycling opportunities" (p.115). Much progress has been made since the technical review, and the M4I demonstration projects perhaps show a more proactive approach. As a result of the research, several guidance booklets have been published by CIRIA, focusing on what can be done on site (Guthrie et aI., 1997), during design (Coventry and Guthrie, 1998) and by the board (Coventry et aI., 1999a). A comprehensive manual which gives detailed infonnation on a wide range of secondary materials has also been produced (Coventry et aI., 1999b). The Building Research Establishment (BRE), in partnership with DEFRA, are trying to ) tackle the problem of providing a stable source of secondary material by setting up the Material.~. Infol111ationExchange on the intel11et(BRE, 200 I). They also have a quality assurance scheme for secondary materials to try and stimulate confidence in designers

(BRE, n.d.). Managers cannot control what they cannot measure, so data on waste streams is essential. A tool for measuring waste streams on site, SMART Waste™, has been developed by the BRE (2000). An important function of management is forecasting, as it affords a basis for informed decision making in subsequent management functions. CIRIA is developing a tool (Kwan et aI., 2001) to enable the identification of waste streams early in a project's lifecycle, in order that they can be effectively targeted

The BRE also has a method of assessing a building's environmental which includes waste issues. This is known as 'BREEAM' (BRE, IS tenants are increasingly keen to Score a good rating. In aniving at a s takes into account - amongst other factors - embodied energy of the pJ the building (often lower for secondary materials). Points can be gain best perfonning materials in the BRE's 'Green Guide To Specificatiol which gives ratings in accordance to a material's environmental perfOl infonnation on \vhole life costs. The action by industry described above is further supplemented by the other organisations and individual businesses. Should the reader wish wider body of information available, the author suggests following the where further references are made to work of importance.

2.4.8 Current progress

Since the publication of the 'Waste Strategy' and 'Building a better qual original overseeing governmental department, DETR has been disbande( strategies have been placed under the responsibility of DEFRA and the respectively.

A 'Waste Summit' was held in November 2001 to:

  • Facilitate discussion on what is working and what is not working implementing the Waste Strategy in England.
  • To discuss what needs to be done to ensure that the Waste Strategy

The results of the summit included some construction management issues. to minimisation it was recognised that it is "necessary ... to make waste an boardrooms of business" (DEFRA, 200Ic). There were discussions on sett minimum standard amounts of 'recyclate' used in construction and the use of economic instruments "were seen as helpful in changing behaviour". There appears to be a lack of information with regards to overall progress on waste. In the second annual report on the sustainable development agenda (DEFRA, 2002) there is no updated infonnation with regards to waste and it is stated that new data is not due until 2003. In Part Five of the UK National Accounts for 2001 (Tse, 2002), the section on waste relates to data from 1998/99. Although environmental reporting may be in its infancy, the lack of up to date infonnation on waste is not helpful in assessing whether the government's strategy is working. However, Jonathon Porritt (2002), Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission (an advisory, non-departmental public body whose objectives include reviewing how far sustainable development is being achieved in the UK) does concede that "with long tenn problems like ... waste production, it is difficult for a single year's data to show the bigger picture". Despite the apparent lack of up to date infonnation, there are signs that the construction industry has responded well to previous targets. In 1994, MPG6 (DoE, 1994) set targets for the greater us.e of secondary materials for aggregate. It challenged the industry to use 40 million tonnes by 2001 and 55 million tonnes by 2006. These tonnages represent 15% and 21% reSpectively of the total primary aggregate extracted in 1994 (BACMI,1995) and it appears as if the target for 2001 has been met (DETR, 2000a, pt 2, p. 115). Further supporting evidence that the construction industry is making progress with reducing the waste it sends to landfill is presented in Figure 2.4.

However, it is recognised that the construction industry has a "long way to et aI., 2001, p. 9) to match the perfonnance in other industrial sectors. Fur noted that secondary materials are mainly used for low-grade applications IaI., 1999, p. 117). This fact is particularly concerning where a higher gradI reused in a lower grade application - for example a pre-cast concrete beam used for general fill. Such practice has been dubbed "downcycling" by 'ec Bill McDonough (cited by Dowling, 200 I). With regards to the effectiveness of economic instruments, the governmenl research which indicates the landfill tax "may have led one third of compal introduce or step up efforts to minimise, reuse or recycle wastes" (HM Tre However these claims are attacked by the eBI (2001) who feel "data on VI arising is limited and poor ... undermining claims about the extent to whid arising has decreased since the introduction of the landfill tax". There is uncertainty whether regulation is an effective way of achieving W2 minimisation targets. In Germany, the Waste Avoidance and Management legal obligations on those involved in the construction process to reduce w; but it is not clear how effective these regulations are (Guthrie et aI., 1999).

It could also be argued that the introduction of the' Construction (Design and Management) Regulations' (Legislation, 1994) - which place legal obligations on clients, designers and contractors to take all reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce the risks to health and safety - has not lead to a significant reduction in the amount of fatal and serious accidents in construction (Forrest, 2001). Why would a similar legal requirement to reduce waste be any more effective? The government themselves recognise the lack of research into the effectiveness of environmental policies. They have identified the "the lack of 'back-casting' and ex-post research" as a research gap (DETR, 2000d).

2.5 Discussion and conclusions of the literature review

The use of economic instruments and regulatory measures by the government to pursue their strategies on waste and sustainable construction have important implications for the management of construction. As waste minimisation becomes a more pressing issue, management action will be required in order for private businesses to remain competitive and to ensure the proper use of PHblic monies in the public sector. The uptake of at least some of the practices and management systems described above will become necessary in order to achieve compliance with possible future laws. However, this is on the presumption that the policy measures are effective in their aims. If they are not, and waste minimisation does not become increasingly important to business, companies will not be able to justify allocating considerable resources to put these management practices in place. It is therefore very important for managers in the industry to know whether the policies are likely to be effective. But, there is a lack of infonnation on the effectiveness of fiscal and regulatory measures in reducing construction waste and the author calls for more research in this field.

In the meantime, and with the aggregates levy about to be introduced, a c. industry viewpoint would be valuable. This 'soft primary data' would at managers some confidence, or otherwise, in introducing costly manageml would also provide the policy makers with an infonned view on the effect different strategies. This research therefore proposes to detennine the opinion of construction on the effectiveness of current and possible future government policy on 1 construction waste sent to landfill. It will contribute to the knowledge in providing up to date, infonned opinions.

2.6 Summary of chapter two

This chapter has reviewed a large body of literature and discussed how it J study aim. It was found that the existing knowledge does not provide con evidence that certain government policies on waste will be effective. Am further investigation is proposed and described in the next chapter.

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