HOW TO MANAGE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION WASTE RESPONSIBLY
Building and construction waste must be disposed of in a responsible way to avoid any negative effect on people’s health and the environment. Building and construction waste can be hazardous and has the potential to cause long term ground pollution, pollute waterways and it can ruin the natural beauty of an area.
There is also the high possibility that building debris may contain hazardous elements like asbestos for instance. This material needs to be handled very carefully to prevent negative effects on the environment and public health.
A pile of abandoned construction waste has the potential to become a fire hazard, as it could catch the attention of a firebug. It not only encourages anti-social behavior but can cause serious injury. Older people may trip over the debris and kids may get hurt while playing around an open site that contains an unstable pile of construction waste.
Unethical building contractors may dump and conceal building waste in gardens to avoid following the legal disposal route. Buried building waste not only contaminates the environment but can also cause expensive inconveniences to homeowners who may discover it later, during a landscaping project for instance. Furthermore, buried building waste can shift and compact over time, causing sinkholes or an unstable ground.
What exactly is illegal dumping?
Illegal dumping is the disposing or abandoning of waste in an area not earmarked for this, and without permission. According to Section 49A of the Environmental Protection Act of 1986, it is an offense.
In addition, waste must be transferred to a location that can legally take it in, according to section 143 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act of 1997.
According to the Environmental Protection Act of 1996, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) is the appointed authority to investigate and prosecute cases of illegal dumping. If found guilty, the maximum fine for businesses is $ 125 000 and for individuals it is $ 62 500.
According to the 2020 National Waste Report, which was the last time it was published, landfills saw less waste compared to 2006. According to people in the know, this downward turn in processing of landfill waste, is not necessarily a good sign. It could be an indication that instead of effective recycling projects, more and more illegal dumping is taking place than ever before. This would predominantly be due to people and companies seeking to avoid paying levies.
The sharp reduction of waste arrival at landfills was recorded not long after the government imposed a hike in the construction and demolition landfill levy in 2015. The industry saw an exponential increase in this levy, as it was raised from $ 8 per tonne to $ 70 per tonne.
Master Builders WA (MBWA) has formed a strategic partnership with industry leaders, security companies and law enforcement organizations. Their purpose is to prevent and clean up illegal dumping and pursue illegal dumping culprits. According to the MBWA, waste from construction and controlled building demolition projects is the type of illegal dumping that occurs most frequently. This is due to shameless practices by so-called professionals.
What does construction and demolition waste consist of?
Waste from construction and demolition projects (or C & D Waste for short), mostly consists of a variety of construction material. This can include dirt, nails, shingles, electrical wiring, waste asphalt, brick, concrete, or wood debris and even tree stumps.
It can be shocking to think that this waste could even include more hazardous material, like contaminated soil or asbestos. This type of waste has the potential to endanger the health of the people in the area.
All construction and building demolition contractors have the moral and legal responsibility to protect the community and their surroundings. This is particularly important when it comes to the responsible recycling and discarding of waste material and rubble.
Construction waste recycling and waste disposal management
Professional and trustworthy construction and commercial demolition contractors will have their waste management plan available to anyone that requests it. This crucial document will outline their environmental and waste reduction goals, contractual obligations and budgets set aside specifically for waste management.
The majority of building waste material can be used by other parties for different projects. By recycling waste this way, it reduces the waste disposal costs and it is healthier for the environment.
Waste materials that are typically created from a construction site or controlled demolition site often include concrete, metals, plastics, asphalt, gravel, wood, and insulation materials. There are various opportunities available to recycle much of this waste material. For instance, wood offcuts can be recycled into engineered wood and metals can be melted down to create new metal material. Many items that can still be used could be sold out of hand or free adverts can be placed on Gumtree or Buy Nothing Groups.
Incorporating recycling methods and other waste management principles can reduce the overall cost of building with new materials and help save resources.
Building waste material should only end up in landfills after a thorough selective process and further recycling strategies have been exhausted. By employing a well thought out strategy to reuse and recycle most of the waste, builders can reduce the amount of hazardous waste that gets discarded in landfills. This will in turn reduce hazardous pollutants finding its way into the soil, air, and waterways.
How can construction and demolition waste be disposed of effectively?
There is a way that you can help with ensuring that building waste is legally and ethically disposed of. Ask your contractor to show you their waste management plan. In the event that they don’t have one, you can ask them to refer to the Master Builders Smart Waste Guide, which lists the facilities that offer building waste recycling services.
Industrial Demolition & Metal Management employs skilled professionals who are committed to handling construction waste responsibly and effectively. We urge contractors to send their construction waste to our building and construction waste yard. Concrete, brick, tile, sand, limestone and mixed inert are just a few examples of the clean building waste that our waste yard takes in. Feel free to contact Industrial Demolition & Metal Management for more information and to answer your questions.
Another way to ensure that your contractor is properly disposing of building waste, is to ask them to provide evidence through producing a waste disposal certificate. This way you can be sure that no waste was dumped illegally, nor in your backyard.
The owner of the building waste and the contractor are legally obligated to be able to prove that the waste was transferred to a legal location if recycling is not an option.
If you are ever a witness to illegal dumping activities or if you stumble across dumped construction waste, please immediately report it to your local council. They will take the necessary measures to resolve the problem.