Many construction businesses underestimate the true cost of packaging waste. The costs on your site can come from:
- Material purchase - the majority of packaging thrown away can usually be reused.
- Labour costs - don't underestimate the costs of handling waste on site. This includes time spent clearing up waste and collecting it into skips, plus the cost of transporting and placing replacement materials around the site.
- Waste disposal costs - the costs of skip hire, transport costs and gate fees at landfill sites are significant. Landfill fees are increasing as site operators recoup the costs incurred by stricter legislation governing what can and cannot be accepted for disposal and significant rises in the landfill tax.
- Loss of revenue - even when it is impossible to reuse a material on site, there is usually an opportunity to benefit from selling the waste.
Other business benefits of reducing packaging waste
Reducing packaging waste has a number of other commercial benefits for your business. These include:
- Complying with legislation - businesses that handle significant quantities of packaging have responsibilities under packaging waste regulations - see packaging and packaging waste management.
- Better procurement - if the main contractor is responsible for all waste, instead of each individual sub-contractor, a single improved level of waste minimisation performance can be applied to the project as a whole.
- Improved material specifications - packaging requirements can be specified in contract documents and material specifications.
- Enhanced management of the supply chain - improvements can be made at all levels of the supply chain through a general focus on behaviour and culture.
- Responding to stakeholder pressure - improving your environmental performance can help improve your business' image and reputation among stakeholders such as customers, the public, regulatory authorities, insurers and investors.
Environmental benefits of reducing packaging waste
Your business must make commercial decisions about how it handles packaging waste, but these decisions should have an environmental aspect as well. Dealing with packaging waste in an environmentally responsible way can bring a number of benefits including:
- reducing energy consumption to handle and process packaging waste
- reducing the risk of pollution incidents from the burning of waste materials
- reducing the amount of greenhouse gases, especially methane produced from landfill sites
- reducing the amount of leachates in landfill sites
- preventing environmental pollution from hazardous wastes
- reducing the need to produce packaging from virgin materials