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Waste Disposal and Recycling

There is a serious amount of legislation now in place for building contractors, which explains how waste must be managed and disposed of and all contractors are obliged to follow it by law. However, there is a large difference between simply following the law and implementing a `green` approach to your construction waste. But why should you care?

The benefits of strong waste management approaches If you implement a good process for managing your waste you will pay less costs - from lesser landfill taxes, less gate fees and few skip hire charges. You will manage to lessen or avoid the cost of transporting waste and use more recycled materials on your site - saving on the cost of purchasing new materials. Additionally, you will be able to improve your stock control and market your green approach to customers, as something that sets your business apart from the competition.

A guide to green management

Recycling and `green` waste management is as much about using what you need, as it is about disposing of waste. So start from the beginning of our building process and make sure that you only order exactly the right amount of materials. You can use stock control systems and technology to make this process as accurate and as automated as possible. Also, arrange for your deliveries to be carried out on a `just in time` basis, to reduce the cost of storage and the risk of losses and damage to your materials.

Think too about what you are buying and check the source of your materials. Many customers want to know that their goods came from ethical backgrounds, so check for company certification and evidence of green standards. Ideally, only use suppliers with an environmental policy and high standards. Bear in mind too that recycled materials often prove to be less expensive to buy.

Look at the packaging that is being used for the materials being brought onto your site - could it be lessened or recycled more effectively. Check deliveries carefully so that you can quickly reject any sub-standard stock.

Store any liquids safely and in line with good practices, to avoid pollution and environmental damage. The same applies to gases, oils and dangerous solids.

Whilst working on the site

Assess what options there are for recycling and reclaiming the construction materials used on site. For example, you can sometimes recycle prunings from trees and bushes, demolition materials and any surplus building materials. This avoids the need for expensive transport and cuts your carbon footprint. Also make sure that the site is kept clean and tidy, as this reduces the risk of waste and material losses.

Invest in good staff training policies to ensure that everyone knows their role within the process and the value of the process. Make sure that waste segregation is happening properly, with skips in place for mixed materials, inert materials, wood and so forth. You may also want to use a licensed and environmentally friendly waste management provider to deal with your waste. Create posters from the Waste Aware website for construction workers, so everyone knows which waste goes into which skip, whether old carpets and bar stools from a demolition site, or excess plastic packaging from a delivery.

Attention to detail, a strong `green` culture and an excellent health and safety culture will build you a stronger, more environmentally friendly and better performing business.