What Can You Do With Waste and Other Remains At Construction Sites?
We are living in a world that is increasingly more concerned with sustainability and there is still so much that can be done. The construction industry can be a powerful ally for the environment if proper practices are applied in construction work ranging from the use of sustainable materials to correctly handling waste materials. In regards to the latter, today’s article will go into detail about the different kinds of waste and debris that is produced at construction sites.
What Is Waste?
Waste is often referred to as the result of what has been decomposed or destructed from something else; a part or portion of something that remains from another. This article refers to the remains found at construction sites and what is generated during both construction and demolition. This waste has a large impact, which is commonly very heterogenous and in large quantity. Before getting into how waste can be managed, it is necessary to understand the different types that exist and the characteristics that differentiate them.
- Inert Waste: This is waste that does not pose any risk chemically or otherwise and does not contaminate water or the ground in any way. Examples of this type of waste include bricks, roof tiles, tiles, cement and mortar.
- Non-dangerous waste: This is waste that, on account of its nature, can be treated or stored in the same location as domestic waste. If it includes less than 10,000 tons per year, it is not necessary to have authorisation to produce it. Non-dangerous waste includes materials that have been made using paper, metal, cardboard, wood or even plastic. Plastic may include non-reusable protective tarpaulins and tapes, ducts, window frames and rolling shutters.
- Dangerous waste: Also referred to as hazardous waste material, this is considered dangerous and harmful for your health and causes damage to the environment. For that reason, it is important to count on public administration authorisation to be able to produce it. Dangerous waste includes: bottles and other oil waste, lubricants, break fuel, flammables, debonder, anti-freeze and other liquids for curing cement, adhesives, aerosols and foaming agents, bitumen with coal tar, paint stripper, primers, solvents and detergents, wood that has been treated with toxic chemicals, paints and varnishes, silicon and other sealed products, fluorescent tubes, batteries that contain lead, nickel, cadmium and mercury among many other things.
What Are Construction Companies Obligated to Do with Waste Material?
- Ensure that the company brings the waste material to a plant or to an authorised handler.
- Separate the materials to recycle Thanks to a selective selection and collection, the apparent volume of waste generated is decreased. At the same time, an image of general order and control is established for workers. Additionally, this is the only way to responsibly manage dangerous materials.
- Create a Waste Management Plan. The plan should include the information regarding who is producing it, an estimation of the amount of generated waste, information of the authorised handler that is contracted, information about the handling and management of the waste, budget and measures taken for its reduction, management and control.
Regarding this aspect, similar to any other work place, the manager plays an important role. This will be the person in charge of supervising the correct management of the actions that are indicated in the Waste Management Plan.
Where to Bring the Waste?
It is very important to contract an authorised handler. However, the construction company should always be aware of whether the contract company is actually bringing the waste to the proper location. For this to be possible, in addition to the basic documentation that is requested (in which the registration document must appear on behalf of the administration as authorised waste manager), it is essential to also add a monthly certificate of waste delivery in which the amount and the type of waste is detailed, the information on who produced it, as well as the transport and value of the waste to understand what a business does with the waste once it has left the construction site.
What Can Be Done to Decrease Waste?
Although the use of less contaminating new technology and sustainable materials is important for advancing and caring for the environment, it is also possible to reduce the impact that construction sites generate to conserve our environment with good practices in the production process. For that reason, it is important to minimise waste from the very beginning to be able to start off well. Consider that the best form of waste is that which is not produced. For that reason, good practices that should be taken on are summarised below in this list:
- Where possible, reduce the use of materials
- Minimise waste creation
- Reuse materials
- Recycle materials
- Recover energy from waste
- Send the minimum amount of waste to landfills