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Construction waste to landfill down

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has announced that the amount of Construction, Demolition and Excavation (CD&E) waste the industry sends to landfill each year has decreased.

To date, 32 construction contractors have monitored and reported annual performance for their CD&E waste through the WRAP Waste to Landfill Reporting Portal. These companies consist of most of the UK’s largest contractors and represent total construction annual spend in excess of £21 billion over the reporting period.

The combined figures for the 32 companies show an absolute decrease of 28% in the CD&E waste sent to landfill between 2008 and 2009. That is a drop from 3.1 million tonnes in 2008 to 2.2 million tonnes by year end 2009.

WRAP also measured the amount of waste sent to landfill per £million spent on construction (including refurbishment and demolition) for these same companies. This indicator takes into account changes in construction activity which could have affected the absolute tonnage figures. The figures indicate a decrease of 44%; from 178 tonnes in 2008 to 100 tonnes in 2009.

Importantly, the data shows signatories are wasting less in the first place. There is a decrease in waste arising relative to construction spend of some 23%, an indication that companies are taking action to prevent waste being produced.

Lord Henley, Waste and Recycling Minister, praised the dedication of those signed up to Halving Waste to Landfill in tackling a waste stream that accounts for a third of the UK’s waste. “Architects, engineers and builders across the country are saving money and the environment by cutting down on throwing out valuable material,” he said. “Construction businesses, big and small, are now on board and making this happen, so I’d challenge those not yet involved to also step up and see the real value that halving waste to landfill will bring.”

Dr Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP said: “[The] Halving Waste to Landfill figures are just the beginning and give me confidence that industry is working hard and well on track to deliver the target by 2012. In just over two years the Halving Waste to Landfill Commitment has gone from zero to influencing nearly £38 billion worth of construction projects. This demonstrates that the commitment requirements are being embedded within industry and this is delivering great results for business and the environment.”

Signatories are reducing their waste to landfill through a range of measures including:
• using their procurement process to set requirements for their supply chains
• designing out waste
• reducing wastage rates with more efficient material delivery logistics, storage and handling on site;
• recovering more waste through improved segregation
• working with more efficient waste management contractors