Guide

Reduce packaging waste on your construction site

How to recycle packaging at construction sites

Most of the packaging that construction work generates can be recycled and not sent to landfill. Some packaging for hazardous materials may need special handling, but even this packaging can be successfully recycled. Some of the main materials on your site that are ideal for recycling include:

  • metals, such as aluminium and steel
  • untreated and uncontaminated timber
  • paper and cardboard
  • plastics

One of the main barriers to effective recycling is that often only low levels of materials are produced. You may be able to remedy this issue by collecting waste products over time in clearly identified bins. Training and education about waste and recycling is vital to ensure you recycle the maximum amount of materials.

How to recycle construction packaging materials

There are a number of measures you can put in place that will maximise the levels of waste that you can recycle. These measures include:

  • using the national colour-coding scheme for waste containers to ensure waste is separated efficiently
  • contacting local recycling services for collection thresholds and prices
  • arranging for pallets to be returned to the supplier
  • using an on-site baler to compact paper, card and plastic so they take up less space and are easier to store, ready for recycling
  • investigating the potential of a shared collection scheme to reduce costs and maximise recycling levels
  • clearly striking through hazard symbols to show that containers no longer contain hazardous materials and can be safely recycled - however, you must ensure that the container is clean and any hazardous liquids or substances are properly disposed of
  • using off-site manufacture and assembly of products - eg bathrooms - that will help to reduce on-site packaging waste
  • sending any packaging that can't be recycled to a licensed Waste Management Contractor, who will be best placed to decide its destination
  • considering composting paper or cardboard that does not contain any tape or adhesives