Waste and recycling minister Jane Kennedy has revealed that tackling business waste is to be a “top priority”
as reported on www.letsrecycle.com
Ms Kennedy explained that the Government would now develop proposals aimed at supporting businesses to look at ways they could reduce, reuse and recycle their waste, with a particular focus falling on small businesses. She added that the government hoped to offer support in light of Envirowise research which claimed businesses spend 4% of their annual turnover on waste disposal.
One area that the minister said that she hoped to make some real headway with regards to waste reduction and recycling was the construction and demolition sectors, with Ms Kennedy keen to build on targets to halve the amount of waste generated in these sectors by 2012.
Identifying work already done in this area, the minister said she believed the 2007 Waste Strategy for England had “rightly identified” construction and demolition waste as in need of action, leading to the Sustainable Construction Strategy launched in June and the legal requirement for each business to have a Site Waste Management Plans, which the minister believed would play a part in keeping focus on waste at this time of economic instability.
All good news, but reliance on Site Waste Management Plans to acheive 50% reduction in waste is not the way forward and more empahsis should be on eliminating waste, not simply finding better ways to mange waste after it has been created.
In addition one of the biggest moans from site contractors I hear at the moment, across the country, is the lack of real engagement from clients in driving Site Waste Management Plans
And as to spending 4% of their annual turnover on waste disposal this seems very low for the built environment sector when the real cost of skips is estimated at £1500, not the £100 costed for, and the estimated waste in the sector is at 30%, and DEFRA suggesting that one third of solid materials delivered to a project is wasted.
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Whilst management must be looked at ultimately reduction is the key as you describe.
Yes, there is a lot that can be done in the planning and design stages to eliminate or reduce waste, from considering materials (and their transport, etc) to lean construction processes on-site.
I have recently sat through two different Constructing Excellence meetings (one national, one more local) at which site waste and carbon footprint key performance indicators have cropped up in discussion. There is a need for the industry to do some joined-up thinking about resource efficiency and waste reduction KPIs, bringing together clients, consultants, contractors and materials suppliers and manufacturers.