Introduction to site waste management plans

Store and handle construction waste materials effectively


You should plan carefully the way you deliver, store and transport materials around a construction site. Bad planning can lead to significant quantities of unnecessary waste, contamination of non-hazardous waste by hazardous waste and increased risk of pollution incidents. For example, leaving building materials unprotected can mean they get spoiled and have to be scrapped if it rains or the site becomes muddy.

Site waste management plans and separating waste

Where possible, you should separate different waste materials on site. This makes it easier to reuse materials and can save you money, as materials that have been separated for recycling are usually more valuable to the waste industry than those that are mixed.

You should also:

  • Label containers clearly. A national colour coding scheme has been developed by the Institution of Civil Engineers and Waste Aware Construction.
  • Allocate designated areas for containers in suitable locations.
  • Empty containers regularly to avoid running out of space and prevent possible contamination.
  • Make sure that your staff are adequately trained and know how the system works - see site waste management communication and training.
  • Audit the scheme, eg by carrying out spot checks.

You need to consider space for separating waste when planning the project. Think about using systems such as compaction, as many skips have up to 40 per cent empty space when they appear full.

You can set up systems with your waste management contractor to ensure that:

  • the correct types of containers are provided
  • you receive help in monitoring, enforcement and training
  • there are end markets for the waste materials that you separated

Site waste management plans and hazardous waste

You must separate all hazardous waste on site to make sure it is stored safely and to avoid contaminating other waste with hazardous materials. Hazardous waste includes asbestos, oil, chemicals and electrical equipment with hazardous components such as fluorescent light tubes - see dealing with hazardous waste.

Site waste management plan duty of care

You must make sure that all waste on the site is handled and disposed of correctly by meeting duty of care requirements. A site waste management plan (SWMP) should provide a framework to ensure that the site complies with the waste duty of care. This includes:

  • ensuring that all waste is stored safely and securely
  • checking that all waste contractors have the appropriate licences or exemptions
  • keeping copies of all waste transfer notes for two years
  • using the waste hierarchy when deciding how to deal with your waste