Resource Use

Construction sector urged to think about sustainability with ZWS reuse guide

A new guide aimed at helping Scottish construction and architecture businesses maximise the amount of waste they reuse on construction projects has been published by Zero Waste Scotland.

Construction sector urged to think about sustainability with ZWS reuse guideOver 4.4 million tonnes of construction waste was produced in Scotland by nearly 50,000 construction enterprises in 2014, making the construction sector the largest producer of waste in Scotland. It also uses more raw materials than any other sector in the country, accounting for over 40 per cent of the country’s use of timber, copper, lead and aggregates, and so the free guide has been created to help create more sustainable ways of working.

Maximising re-use of materials on site’ highlights the wide-ranging benefits of re-use on construction sites, and identifies a range of material re-use opportunities to help sites become more resource efficient, evaluating their impact and the ease of implementation.

Among the opportunities mentioned are reusing steel containers like water tanks and baths as planters and retaining rolled steel joints (RCJs) for other construction projects – considered high impact and easy to apply – and using beams or joists as edging for horticultural projects or donating them to local gardening schemes. 

The guide has been written for all parties involved in a construction project including design teams, principal contractors, sub-contractors and clients, and shows how these groups can work together to save costs through resource efficiency and disposal costs, identify re-use opportunities and support environmental management systems like BREEAM and ISO 14001.

Caroline Gray, Construction Sector Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said: "This new guide, delivered through Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Scotland programme, aims to help businesses realise the scale of opportunity that exists through on-site re-use – from minimising costs to developing new, sustainable business opportunities. The new guidance complements existing legal direction on re-use from SEPA.”

Resource Efficient Scotland has also this year launched a free support service to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) identify opportunities to reduce waste and save money through on-site support. Funds of up to £100,000 have been made available to support the physical implementation of waste prevention measures in the construction and commercial and industrial sectors, while advice services will help businesses with planning and design through on-site support, employee training, online tools and workshops.

The reuse guide was launched in the same week as a half-day conference on re-use, an event run in conjunction with the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA). The re-use conference examined the current legislative position for reuse, a complex area that can act often be perceived as a barrier to implementing reuse activities.

CECA Chief Executive Grahame Barn added: “Material re-use is a priority within the construction sector and we welcome the release of this new guide as it will help businesses to achieve this.”

Zero Waste Scotland’s ‘Maximising re-use of materials on site’ guide can be read and downloaded from the organisation’s website.

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