Contractor's guide to cutting waste from construction projects

Embedding a culture of waste reduction in your construction business


Reducing construction site waste is only possible if every part of your business buys into what you are trying to achieve. A directive from management to simply reduce waste may be ignored and even resented by frontline workers if it isn't clear what practical steps they should take to achieve this.

You should communicate the idea that construction site waste can play a major role in reducing costs. Team members that become 'waste aware' enable your business to operate more efficiently and increase profitability.

Waste reduction must not be viewed simply as a way to enhance your business' environmental credentials. It should be a clear and present driving force behind each construction project and not simply a marketing gimmick.

You can improve communication and delivery of your waste management practices by:

  • using incentives to encourage employees to reduce waste
  • supporting workers and other contractors to help them improve their waste reduction techniques
  • using simple waste management signs with clearly understood symbols
  • discussing your waste reduction priorities in your site meetings and team briefings
  • holding waste workshops to share information, insights and resolve issues
  • appointing waste champions to act as a central point of contact and advice for frontline staff
  • partnering with like-minded subcontractors and designers to share information and waste reduction ideas
  • setting targets and measuring your progress against these

See our guide on making the case for environmental improvements.