PreCycling: A gateway to the Construction Circular Economy

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Precycling is a term I adopted within FutuREstorative to describe the decision making process when specifying, procuring, ordering and calling off materials. It is the thought process, not for only the avoidance of waste but in considering net-positive and secondary uses for a product at the end of its initial use.

Precycling is defined as ‘making purchasing decisions that will ultimately eliminate, delay, reduce the need to recycle or dispose of waste” and should be at the top of all waste hierarchies, as indeed it now is with some of the organisation whom I am supporting.

I have suggested elsewhere that product or material data sheets or passports within BIM should contain deconstruction, disassembly future use options within their attributes, hence enabling and informing precycling decisions.

“Precycling is one of the gateways into a construction circular economy” and assists in making the conversion from Site Waste Management Plans (that detail methods for reducing and better management of waste) to Material Conservation Plans (that detail methods for conserving resources)

Material Conservation Plans are a Living Building Challenge requirement under the Materials imperative. A framework for UK Project Material Conservation Plans is included within FutuREstorative

In January 2017 BRE published Material resource efficiency in construction: Supporting a circular economy (FB 85) which although still having a focus on Site Waste Management Plans assists in shifting waste thinking further up stream, noting that Material resource efficiency can be applied across a construction project’s life cycle, but with the greatest benefits at early, pre-construction stages

4_fb85_165px “There is increasing awareness that improved material resource efficiency will produce benefits across the construction industry such as cost savings, reduced environmental impact and an enhanced reputation. At a construction project level, resource efficiency can be implemented at all stages (design, procurement, construction, in use and end of life) using established tools and techniques.

This guide describes the material resource efficiency requirements in BREEAM. It provides the background, drivers, benefits and practical advice to assist clients, designers and contractors in achieving higher levels of material resource efficiency. It will also be useful to product manufacturers, suppliers and waste management companies”

 

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With the demise of SWMP’s – now is the time to rethink waste

This week DECC confirmed arrangements for the demise of SWMP’s

You will no longer be required by law to prepare a site waste management plan (SWMP) from 1 December 2013. However, SWMPs may still be required by BREEAM, the planning permission or by the main contractor or client. Even if you don’t need to produce one, completing a SWMP will help you to handle your materials and waste correctly, helping you reduce and save money in the process. 

We should see this as an opportunity to rethink our relationship with waste, and focus upstream, not on waste, but on solutions through appropriate material management. And one solution lies within the Living Building Challenge, a restorative sustainability philosophy, advocacy and accreditation programme for the built environment.

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It is heartening to note that the Living Building Challenge Material Petal, does not refer to waste (as BREEAM and LEED do) but on Conservation and Re-Use, requiring each project team to create a Material Conservation Management Plan that explains how the project optimises materials in:

Design,  including consideration of appropriate durability in product specification

Construction, including product optimization and collection of wasted materials

Operation, including a collection plan for consumables and durables

End of Life, including a plan for Adaptable Reuse and Deconstruction

Through ISO 14001, Environmental Management, and Living Building Challenge support for projects and organisations we are slowly moving SWasteMP’s thinking towards MConservationMP’s and to Adaptable Reuse and Deconstruction Plans.

If you would like more information to seize this opportunity to move your organisation forward please do get in touch. (Innovation Vouchers can help offset costs!)

Links:

Introducing the Living Building Challenge in the UK

Living Building Challenge Infographic

Changes to SWMP regulation (DECC)

Your waste responsibilities (DECC)

ISO14051: Turning waste to gold with ISO standard for environmental management accounting

With the proposed demise of Site Waste Management Plans SWMP under the ‘Greenest Government Ever’ red tape plans, could a new-ish ISO standard that puts costs to the impacts identified under ISO 14001 provide direction, guidance or framework for construction to measure and improve material and energy waste?

The standard, ISO 14051:2011, Environmental management — Material flow cost accounting — assists organizations to better understand the environmental and financial consequences of their material and energy use practices, so that they can identify opportunities for improvement.

The standard uses MFCA, Material flow cost accounting,  which is “applicable to any organisation that uses materials and energy, regardless of their products, services, size, structure, location, and existing management and accounting systems”

MFCA could be applied on a business wide basis across all projects, understanding material, energy and resource inputs, processing and outputs, as well as on a project basis adopting a SWMP format combined with a Carbon plan driven by ConstructCO2 could indeed turn waste into gold.

Background Reading:

Constructing Excellence SWMP position

ISO turn waste into gold  

Measure, Understand and Improve Construction Carbons www.constructco2.com

government to focus on 50% construction waste reduction

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.

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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.

Previous isite related posts:

resource efficiency could save construction industry millions

beyond waste management

carbon management and waste management event

UKGBC task group too important to be so narrow?

sustainable construction commitments launched