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All workers on a project produce waste for reasons including:

  • mistakes
  • off-cuts
  • products that are damaged or off specification
  • packaging
  • temporary works
  • building materials and soil from renovation, demolition and earthworks.
trash-palace-doors.jpg

The main building contractor is traditionally responsible for waste management on a construction project, but everyone has an important role to play in an effective waste management programme, including:

All workers on the site

  • Be aware of site waste policy.
  • Be committed to the overall waste minimisation programme and have a sense of ownership of the waste management
  • Undergo any training required to become familiar with the requirements of the programme.
  • Understand how waste and recyclable materials will be managed before starting work.
  • Be clear about the targets that have been set, and why they have been set.
  • Maintain a watchful eye over all activities to ensure materials aren't used unnecessarily
  • Install materials and products as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Reuse materials where possible.
  • Store materials so they are not damaged.
  • Find out which storage containers are used for which waste types and always use the correct containers for each type of waste. Report to the site waste manager if signage is not clear.
  • Make sure waste containers are well packed but not overloaded
  • Take care to separate and recycle wastes as they're produced to reduce double handling.
  • Tell the site waste manager any ideas to further reduce waste materials.

Bricklayer/tiler

  • Return over supply to the supplier, on-sell or donate to charity.
  • Use appropriate mortar strength for bricks. (See NZS4210 and NZS 3123 for requirements on mortar). Softer mortar saves cement and helps in recycling.
  • Use second-hand bricks and tiles.
  • Recycle broken bricks and tiles with waste concrete, or use for hardfill.
  • Keep tile pieces separate for reuse and make the left-overs available for art and craft work.

Carpenter

  • Prepare accurate cutting lists before ordering and ensure that staff or contractors have a complete cutting list to allow efficient timber use.
  • Measure twice, cut once to avoid mistakes and wastage.
  • Keep off-cuts in a handy pile and use wherever possible before cutting new lengths.
  • Have a single timber cutting area to keep all off-cuts in one designated bin or pile. Use appropriate signage to authorise staff and contractors to help themselves to off-cuts during the project.
  • Use joinery profiles that can be easily and invisibly joined to reduce off-cuts.
  • Keep treated and untreated waste timber separate at all times. Clearly label each bin or area. Treated timber waste must go into the appropriate skip.
  • Order premade framing and joinery to avoid off-cuts on site.
  • Provide a dedicated bin or pile of untreated timber for firewood to staff, the public or charities at the completion of your work.
  • All other untreated timber can be recycled - check with recycling operators whether this includes MDF and other engineered products.

Concreter

  • Order crushed concrete aggregate instead of new aggregate for sub-base, base course and landscaping materials.
  • Use reinforcement made from recycled steel.
  • Form up accurately and fine tune estimating. Up to 10% is often wasted.
  • Return surplus cement to the supplier for recycling at the plant.
  • Buy from plants that wash out cement to allow recycling of sand and aggregate.
  • Break remnants into small pieces before final set to allow later use as backfill or recycling.
  • Always form up a small area of path or low grade slab ready to accept remnants.
  • Store waste concrete separately from other waste for crushing/recycling. Use half skips (4.5m3) if concrete is going to be taken off site for recycling. Otherwise store in a pile for on-site crushing.
  • Reuse timber boxing, and use timber scraps to make up boxing.

Electrician

  • Order electrical supplies with recycled content.
  • Double-check the amount off material needed.
  • Ask vendors to reduce the amount of packaging (pallets, cardboard, plastic shrink wrap, metal bands) delivered to the job site.
  • Ask your vendors to take back non-recyclable packaging for reuse.
  • Separate and recycle cardboard, plastic, metals and wire.
  • Measure carefully to avoid end cuts.
  • Use sub-boards and plan wiring to reduce wiring distances, quantities, waste and cost.
  • Minimise the amount of spare wire at switch and plug points, and metal plumbing at joins, to reduce off-cuts.
  • Measure twice, cut once to avoid mistakes and wastage.
  • Recycle off-cuts with other metal. Strip insulation from wire prior to recycling.
  • Recycle cable drums and reels or return to the supplier for reuse.
  • In a renovation project, check the quality of existing wire for reuse rather than assuming the building should be rewired.

Excavator/landscaper

  • Reduce garden and soil waste by protecting trees (or have them removed for replanting), and minimising earthworks.
  • Provide on-site locations for as much excavated rock, soil and vegetation as possible.
  • Use asphalt paving with recycled content.
  • Separate and recycle asphalt and concrete.
  • Sell all marketable trees designated for removal. Grind, chip or shred other vegetation for mulching, composting.
  • Separate stumps, brush and other timber waste for recycling.
  • Separate and recycle rebar and other metals.
  • Reuse removed crushed concrete and asphalt as aggregate, sub-base material or fill.
  • When remodelling older buildings, save finishes such as bricks.

Gib fixer/plasterer

  • Prepare accurate quantity and cutting lists before ordering.
  • Plan carefully to reduce the amount of plasterboard required and the amount of unused off-cuts. Installing plasterboard horizontally can be more efficient (i.e. use less board and have less off-cuts) than installing it vertically.
  • Have a single plasterboard cutting area to keep all off-cuts in one designated pile. Keep off-cuts clean and dry. Off-cuts of half a board or larger may have resale value.
  • Install plasterboard with nails or screws rather than glues, to assist deconstruction and recyclability at the end of the building's life.
  • Return oversupply to the supplier, on sell or donate to charities.
  • Store clean construction plasterboard waste separately on site for recycling.
  • Keep demolition plasterboard separate as it is more difficult to recycle and may contaminate the waste.
  • Recycle plastic buckets or donate for reuse. Scrape out plaster first into the landfill skip.

Glazier

  • Preorder glass sizes and premade windows and doors from the supplier to avoid producing off-cut waste on site.
  • Order just-in-time delivery and store carefully to reduce the risk of damage.
  • Separate construction glass from all other glass such as drink bottles, and recycle.
  • Return oversupply to the supplier, keep for use on the next job, on sell or donate to charities.
  • Recycle timber and aluminium framing separately.

Painter

  • Order paint and other finishing products in bulk where necessary to reduce the amount of packaging required. For example, order one 10 litre pail instead of five 2 litre pails.
  • Keep leftover paint for reuse where possible during the project or for use on other projects or donate to charities.
  • Return oversupply to the supplier, on sell or donate to charities.
  • Clean out cans and buckets for recycling - make sure the paint has set hard in the container, scrape out and put the hardened paint in the landfill skip. Recycle metal cans with other metal types. Recycle plastic buckets or donate them for reuse.
  • Do not tip paint, varnishes, adhesives etc. down the drain, on the ground or into waterways.

Plumber/drainlayer

  • Purchase plumbing and other mechanical supplies with recycled content.
  • To reduce waste and costs, only purchase the amount of material needed.
  • Ask vendors to reduce the amount of packaging (pallets, cardboard, plastic shrink wrap metal bands) delivered to the job-site.
  • Ask vendors to take non-recyclable packaging back for reuse.
  • Retain PVC cut-offs for use as stubs for wall drains.
  • Properly clean joints to prevent leaking.
  • Measure twice, cut once carefully to avoid end cuts.
  • Store materials so that they are not damaged.
  • Plan plumbing and drainage to minimise pipe lengths where possible - group wet areas, use direct lines etc.
  • Select pipe and duct lengths and fittings that fit the purpose but also minimise off-cuts during installation.
  • Choose plastic products that can be recycled. Check the plastic type with local recycling operators.
  • Recycle all metal, concrete and tile components.
  • Store off-cuts separately and reuse during the project. Keep off-cuts for use on other projects.
  • Return oversupply to the supplier, keep for use on the next job, on sell or donate to charities.
  • Recycle metal, plastic and concrete pipes and fittings. Store waste separately, by material type.
  • Prepare drain channels using recycled aggregate or broken bricks, tiles and concrete, rather than natural aggregate.

Roofer, cladder and insulater

  • Select products that can be recycled. Metal, brick, tile, concrete and timber products can be recycled depending on the finishing products.
  • Preorder lengths from the supplier to avoid off-cuts from preparation on site.
  • Store off-cuts separately and reuse during the project. Keep off-cuts for use on other projects.
  • Return oversupply to the supplier, on sell or donate to charities.
  • Look to reduce the need for extra finishing and fixing products that create more waste. For example, have the roofing steel coloured by the supplier to avoid the need to paint on site.
  • Store timber, tile, brick, concrete, insulation and metal waste separately for recycling. Keep treated timber separate from other timber types and dispose to the appropriate bin or skip.

Site manager

  • Champion, educate, and oversee the programme.
  • Be informed about what materials can be reused, recycled and diverted from the landfill.
  • Coordinate the reduction, reuse and recycling activities.
  • Coordinate waste management training for all staff.
  • Ensure recycling storage containers are clearly labelled with the correct labels and are kept in the same location as waste bin or skips.
  • Ensure that the labels on the recycling storage containers are waterproof and large.
  • Provide feedback to all staff periodically on progress.
  • Give encouragement to staff for a job well done.
  • Provide large skips for recycling and a small bin for general waste.

Steelworker

  • Order premade framing, to avoid off-cuts on site.
  • Prepare accurate cutting lists before ordering.
  • Ask your supplier for recycled steel (most construction steel is recycled in New Zealand) - or use second-hand steel members.
  • Ensure that staff or contractors have a complete cutting list to allow efficient steel use.
  • Use off-cuts wherever possible before cutting new lengths.
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