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500 construction companies join waste reduction initiative

Construction Commitments: Halving Waste to Landfill recently smashed through the 500th signatory mark, bringing the potential UK construction contracts to benefit from this waste reduction initiative to well over £30bn.

The Halving Waste to Landfill programme is concerned with reducing by 50% the more than 15M.t of construction, demolition and excavation (CD&E) waste sent to landfill each year across the entire UK.

All signatories need to set a baseline figure for their waste arising and work towards reducing this by whatever factor they can manage using the resources, assistance, tools and guidance provided free by WRAP.

Launched by Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in October 2008, Halving Waste to Landfill is an industry-wide voluntary agreement introduced to help the construction industry meet the challenges set by the Strategy for Sustainable Construction.

Recent signatories include heavy building materials supplier Hanson UK and house builder Barratt Development − two big names within their respective sectors and illustrate the key element of the agreement, namely engaging with the entire construction supply chain to promote collective action.

Signatories first set a baseline for waste arising against which they will endeavour to reduce their annual waste arising by whatever margin fits their circumstances.

Many are utilising the WRAP online Designing out Waste guides for buildings and civil engineering projects to tackle waste at the drawing board; others will attend workshops to learn, for example, how to reduce waste through better logistics planning and management of materials on site.

Hanson UK head of sustainability Martin Crow said: “We operate a monthly reporting system that identifies operational and non-operational waste generated across the business and whether it is recycled or disposed of.

“Considerable efforts are made to ensure surplus materials are reused and do not become part of the waste stream. We are delighted to be part of this initiative.”

The complete list of signatories covers clients, contractors, specialist subcontractors, designers, consultants, manufacturers, suppliers and waste management contractors.

A number of Government departments are committed, as is the Scottish Government; a growing number of universities and many local authorities are following suit. There is wide-scale support from sector bodies such as the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) and Civil Engineers Contractors Association (CECA) and many of their body members.

WRAP head of construction Mike Watson said: “We need to view the problem of waste as one facing the entire industry, but tackle waste as best we can according to our individual ability.

“Small changes will make big differences. The end result for industry is less waste, both in materials and costs.”

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