A ground-breaking agreement brokered by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will see UK utility companies enshrine measures reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill in company policy.
EDF Energy, National Grid, Scotia Gas Networks, Thames Water and Three Valleys Water are among the first companies committed to the Utilities Industry Agreement.
It is hoped the agreement will lead to better waste management across the sector and a reduction in the 2.4 million tonnes of trench arisings sent to UK landfill sites annually.
National Grid's Sustainable Construction Manager, Paul de Jong, said: "It will be challenging at first, but through sharing best practice we can work together to break down any barriers that are preventing us from being more sustainable. The agreement acts as a catalyst for ongoing improvement in both environmental and financial terms."
Utility companies, and contracting firms working for them, will be obliged to set company targets for the use of recycled materials and reduction of waste sent to landfill.
They will be expected to achieve these targets through policies that ensure suitable procurement and contractual arrangements are made for each job.
In addition, companies will be expected promote the use of recycled and stabilised materials and share research information on their use through an online database.
WRAP's Head of Construction, Mike Watson, commented: "This sector agreement has been developed for the industry, by the industry. It helps to support the drive towards sustainability in the construction sector by providing a framework for delivering greater materials efficiencies."
"WRAP will continue to encourage more signatories to sign up and to support the implementation of the agreement and its objectives in practice," he added.