Client's guide to cutting waste from construction projects

Business leadership to cut construction waste


Waste reduction should start at the highest level within your business. If you are the client buying construction services, you should lead by example. One of the key components of your commitment to waste reduction should include reducing waste that goes to landfill.

One simple way of starting this is by creating a statement of intent. For example:

"We commit to playing our part in halving the amount of construction, demolition and excavation waste going to landfill by 2025. We will work to adopt and implement standards for good practice in reducing waste, recycling more, and increasing the use of recycled and recovered materials."

Set a baseline for construction waste reduction

To test whether your business is succeeding in reducing waste in your construction projects, it is important to develop a baseline that future progress can be measured against. This can be achieved by looking at past projects and how much waste these generated over a set period - usually 12 months. You can also work with any businesses in your supply chain to gather this data.

Your baseline should contain:

  • how much waste was sent to landfill
  • how much waste was generated overall
  • how much you spent on your construction projects - for example tender price, excluding VAT
  • the recycled content - percentage of materials by value (optional)

Set targets for construction waste reduction

When you have data that can be used to indicate your current waste performance, you can consider what new targets to set. Your business can use one of two common approaches to setting its corporate targets on waste:

  • measure your corporate baseline first and then set a target
  • set a target based on what your peer group is adopting

As the client on a construction project, it is important to include your baseline information in all policy documents relating to waste management and reduction. This will allow your commercial partners to understand and support the commitments your business is making.