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Industry gives recycling scheme cool reception

CONTRACTORS AND materials producers this week expressed doubts about a new government plan to cut construction waste.

Ministers expect the initiative to save construction £100M a year if the top 1,000 contractors adopt new Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs).

Construction minister Nigel Griffiths launched the SWMP 'voluntary code of practice' last week. He claimed that 'savings benefits must be considerable' despite the costs of setting up such a plan.

The code urges contractors and clients to reuse or recycle construction waste and return unused materials to suppliers.

The move comes as landfill disposal costs are increasing . It urges contractors to stop overordering materials, sort reusable materials into separate skips and forge links with suppliers to accept unused material.

The Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) initiative is aimed at projects over £200,000.

But one major roof tile and blockwork supplier told NCE that it had offered a return service to contractors, but that returned material was contaminated with asbestos.

One contractor said site storage space was often scarce, making it difficult to sort waste into different containers.

Another said waste plans could be successful on newbuild projects as sorting demolition waste could be time consuming and expensive.

'If you're demolishing a building, it's not usually possible to sort out glass from brick - or you'd have to spend a fortune on labour, ' he said.

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