Guide

Waste contractor's guide to recycling construction waste

Working with producers of construction waste

Materials recovery facilities and waste management contractors can encourage customers to manage waste effectively themselves. To do this, you must know the type of waste produced and educate customers on the proper way to present waste.

In rural or isolated areas where transport costs become a limiting factor, you could use drawbar trailers, which can fit up to six skips on the same vehicle. This will increase the geographic area that you can economically serve and increase the range that outputs can be transported for reprocessing.

You could establish satellite transfer cabins to combine waste from a wide area before onward transport to the materials recovery facility. You can also use the services of fully vetted third-party skip businesses to further your reach.

You should also show transparency in the onward destination and sale price of output materials, especially from higher profile customers such as blue-chip construction firms.

Meeting your customers' waste requirements

You should be prepared to offer customers a wide range of services. Customers, especially the larger ones, may expect a more comprehensive service from their waste management contractors including project-specific and material-specific recovery rates and breakdowns of the fate of all waste processed.

Some construction and demolition contractors or their clients now audit waste management systems. This is usually done both at the time of tender where environmental and data reporting issues could influence the award of a waste management contract, or during the construction project itself, to ensure compliance with promised performance.

You can also input this detailed data into resource efficiency tools like WRAP's NetWaste tool or BRE SMARTWaste.

Knowing the construction and demolition waste

Construction and demolition waste varies in shape, density, water content and many other properties. To ensure that you maximise recovery, you must be aware of exactly what is being brought onto the site. This is simple if a regular business relationship exists with the constructor and where you are using your own drivers and are fully trained in waste receipt criteria.

You must inspect all incoming waste from third-party tippers such as independent skip hire businesses, as this may result in unknown material entering the site. If you accept waste from third-party businesses, the skips should be tipped immediately and contents inspected for non-compliance with the site licence.

You should prepare for waste produced to vary with the season - peak periods include spring and summer. Construction and demolition activity is reduced in winter and this is a good time to implement significant changes to your materials recovery facility systems or equipment if needed.

Separating materials at source

You should encourage customers to separate construction and demolition waste before it reaches you. This can result in a more orderly site, safer working conditions and an enhanced reputation. By using material dedicated skips, you can make the recovery process easier and the cost to your customers and yourself will also be reduced. Materials that can be separated include wood, plasterboard, brick and rubble.