Recent weather events have caused significant disruption for the building sector throughout the North Island with waste being just one aspect the industry is having to cope with.
Dealing with waste and regular building activity as a result of flood and wind damage presents many new challenges for building sites.
Regular site waste services may be constrained for some time, for example there may be delays in obtaining skip bins on site or having them collected.
Mark Roberts, head of waste minimisation at Auckland Council recommends “talk to your waste contractor sooner rather than later about scheduling your skip deliveries or collections, but also remind people there are many alternatives in terms of material recycling to reduce the volume of waste going into skip bins.
“Taking this opportunity now to explore your options could be one positive to take from the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle and provide good long-term waste habits in the wider construction industry – waste separation on site for recycling is a great start”.
Things to consider:
- Use online platforms such as Civil Share or Trade Me to on-sell surplus building materials.
- Prevent usable lengths of timber and other materials from going into skips.
- Prevent scrap metal from going into comingled skips. Set metal aside and use a local scrap metal dealer.
- Encourage sub-contractors to use the skip sparingly and to remove any recyclable materials themselves.
- Some sites will have access to a kerbside domestic recycling bin. Use this for all drink cans and bottles (but not construction waste).
- Do your best to secure your skip from illegal dumping. Here are some tips from Green Gorilla.
- Consider alternatives to skips such as heavy-duty refuse bags.
- Try to limit over ordering to prevent left overs.
- Make use of the many alternative destinations available for waste. Community Recycling Centres will accept surplus building materials in usable condition.
- Use any product take back schemes such as those offered for paint, PVC pipes and polystyrene.
- Cardboard, with a limit of 20kg per day, is accepted free at Waitakere Transfer Station, The Concourse, Henderson
- Heavy materials such as concrete can be collected by or delivered to concrete recyclers.
Western Aggregates director Jeff White adds “we often see general waste mixed in with what’s supposed to be straight concrete for recycling. At the end of the day, contamination is a backwards step creating extra costs and resources down the track. I encourage people to take responsibility and separate properly on site making it easier to recover recyclable materials.”
In addition to the above and with weather events becoming more frequent, consider the importance of keeping building sites tidy and loose rubbish off the ground and in contained designated areas.
Particularly small items and sediment are easily washed into stormwater drains. Cable tie offcuts, pieces of plastic and polystyrene packaging and anything non-biodegradable should be contained as this will flow directly into our marine environment.
Forward planning will help make the recovery for building sites a lot easier and could develop new onsite waste minimisation.