Colour coding for construction waste boosts recycling

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), in collaboration with the Construction Confederation and the Scottish Waste Awareness Group (SWAG), has recently launched a new, easy and simple initiative to tackle construction waste by introducing colour-coding for skips. The English launch of the National Dest Segregation Colour Code was held at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, running simultaneously with the Scottish event at the Canniesburn Residential Development site, Bearsden.


DEFRA and the Scottish Executive are both supporting the scheme. Debut Services hosted the Brize Norton event where the coding scheme will be used on an £11 million project to upgrade living quarters for service personnel.

The construction industry already reuses much of its waste. Of the 90.9 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste produced in 2003 only nine million tonnes were sent to landfill. However, the materials are often mixed together in a skip, which reduces the quality of raw material for recycling and hence its value. If the items are segregated earlier then they do not lose quality and, subsequently, value.

Seven posters have been designed, each with a designated colour, symbol and one word explanation of the contents to be displayed with skips. To encourage organisations to use the system, the posters are free to download from the Waste Aware Construction website www.wasteawareconstruction.com.

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