The construction industry is a huge contributor to landfill. Construction and demolition waste make up 40-50% of New Zealand's total waste going to landfill.
Waste management is an important consideration in building. Each home constructed generates an average of 4 tonnes of waste. To change this, we decided several years ago to consider the building products we use and recommend using in the construction of your home and the way we manage rubbish onsite. CBG Quality Construction were the first company in Wanaka to set up onsite recycling, working closely with Bis from Wanaka Wastebusters.
There are recycling facilities in most towns who may be working with the construction industry already and are able to set you up with recycling. They may offer the service to come and collect recycling or you can arrange a drop off. Currently in Wanaka, all cardboard, shrink wrap, paper, plastic containers #1 #2 #5, tin, steel, white polystyrene and scrap metal can be recycled. We introduced fadges and bins onsite for each type of recycling we can offer.
Six years ago, we also made the decision to remove all skips from our sites as we realized that these promote waste. It was pretty easy to just chuck stuff into the skip rather than sort it for reuse, so we took this opportunity away from all who work on our sites. We realized we couldn’t avoid all waste, so we added a fadge beside the recycling station for rubbish. This took some patience to educate our staff and subcontractors. Now before our contract starts, we explain to the sub trades involved that we run recycling on our sites, and it is their responsibility to sort their rubbish and recycling.
We also always stack our timber offcuts in graded piles. For example, we may have a pile of 140 x 45 H3, 90 x 45 H1.2, ply offcuts, 240 x 45 H1.2 and so on. The amount of times you will see our staff or sub trades going to those piles and pulling out what they need is proof in the pudding this is worth it. You will never know when these will be handy for a dwang or some solid fixing in the framing to hang artwork, a mirror or a heater for example.
We decided to run some numbers on rubbish and recycling on various projects we have back costings for. These numbers include GST.
Our rubbish cost average around $2.94 per sqm
Our recycling costs average around $0.98 per sqm
The cost of hiring a skip alone averages around $7.06 per m2
If you are thinking about building, please discuss rubbish and recycling with your builder and what you can do to help reduce waste going to landfill.