Construction industry to get own ‘Courtauld Commitment’

WRAP is launching a new scheme allowing businesses in the construction industry to sign up to an agreement to halve the amount of waste they send to landfill.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme will ask firms to work towards reducing the 100m tonnes of waste it generates in the UK every year – three times as much as households produce. About 25m tonnes of this ends up in landfill

The agreement, which will be launched next month, will work in much the same way as WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment with the retail sector.

Speaking at the RWM conference, Dr Mike Watson, head of construction at WRAP, said that for construction waste to be reduced, three areas will be key.

Firstly, clients should be aware of the problem and make waste minimisation and recycling part of their procurement requirements, he told delegates.

Project teams must also plan how to reduce waste and how to recycle or reuse what is produced at the design stage.

“We are encouraging a process that starts to look at materials in – using more recycled materials – and materials out, to increase recovery and recycling,” he said.

“It’s not just thinking about waste when it’s on site.”

Finally, construction and waste contractors should work together to deal with the problem – an idea that would bring increasing opportunities for the waste industry, Dr Watson said.

“I think there will be increasing business opportunities. There will need to be more facilities to reprocess waste,” he told the conference.

“I think also there’s opportunities to offer more of a bespoke service to look at options to take waste away and to respond to the demand for robust data.

“There’s a clear opportunity for the waste sector to show leadership.”

WRAP has developed an online tool, known as the Net Waste Tool, which will help construction firms to calculate the amount of waste that will come from projects, and how they can reduce it.

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie