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How to implement an on-site waste-separation recycling program

28 October 2019

Yes, putting into practice a waste-separation recycling program takes a little bit of effort, but it’s well worth it.  On-site separation and recycling maximises value and minimises waste, which is win-win for your business and the environment.

First and foremost, you need to know which materials can be recycled or reused. The most common are:

  • Concrete
  • Bricks
  • Paving
  • Insulation
  • Aggregate
  • Plastics
  • Timber
  • Sand & soils

Unlike off-site recyling, on-site source separation does require more planning and multiple bins. On the plus side, however, it enables you to clearly see which materials are most wasted, easily sell or offload your waste materials (via sites such as GreenHands) and creates a positive public image of your business.

Putting into practice an on-site waste-separation recycling program

A successful waste-separation recycling plan requires a team approach. Be sure to not only educate and engage your employees or contractors, but also the client.

Make certain you allocate individual responsibilities to people to help set up and oversee the waste management plan from start to finish.

For a smooth process everyone needs to be aware of their responsibilities. This will require training on the materials that are going to be separated, the importance of avoiding cross-contamination and how sorting will take place.

Your waste-separation plan should outline the materials that are likely to be discarded and at what stage of the construction process or project this will happen. Estimate the quantities to give you the information you need to order bins, guesstimate the bin size required, ensure adequate space and allow for possible bin changeovers.

No waste-separation recycling program is complete without an adjunct waste-recycling plan of action. Assess the local recycling options or, if you’re planning on posting your waste materials on GreenHands, don’t forget to factor in a day and time to take some clear images ready for posting.

Make sure your waste-separation plan incorporates the amount of site space you will need allocated to the waste-separation bins and don’t forget to consider access to collect them.

To avoid contamination, all bins must be clearly signposted and ensure you provide alternative (again, clearly signposted) bins for food waste and unwanted scraps from your hungry construction crew.

Don’t forget…

If you’re working on a project that is in close proximity of other constructions, consider teaming up to split the costs of recycling by sharing space and bins.

Consider including waste minimisation and recycling clauses in sub-contractor contracts.

Review the amount of waste that has avoided landfill and share the findings with staff, clients and contractors. Publicising the outcomes will encourage people to remain committed and might even inspire contractors to embark on their own waste-separation programs in the future.

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