Revealed: 10 Waste Reduction Tips For Your Construction Site
25 August 2017
Revealed: 10 Waste Reduction Tips For Your Construction Site

Ever worry about all the waste generated on your construction site? 

You should. 

Because construction and demolition waste accounts for about 50% of all waste in New Zealand landfills. That’s right, fifty percent!

Want to know the contents of a typical waste skip by weight?

  • 20% is wood and particle board 
  • 13% is plasterboard
  • 12% is concrete and bricks
  • 5% is metal
  • 5% is packaging
  • And the rest is other stuff
Does that skip content surprise you? 
What might surprise you is that at least 50% of your skip can generally be recycled. The trouble is, it often isn’t recycled simply because of time and budget — and that probably doesn’t surprise you.
So what can you do about reducing your waste? 
It turns out there’s quite a bit you can do actually (at least 10 things anyway).

Top 10 tips for waste reduction


1. Plan  to reduce waste

Plan to reduce waste at the start of a project – set goals, identify waste recycling opportunities and target specific wastes you expect from the project. 

2. Make sure everyone knows about your systems

All staff and subcontractors need to follow the waste management systems. Include waste reduction instructions or standards in your contracts in your induction material and other communications with staff and subcontractors. Make it a regular item on toolbox and project management meetings.

3. Order products just-in-time

Order just-in-time delivery of products to reduce the storage time on site (and the potential for damage). Have accurate cutting lists and quantity surveys to avoid over ordering and product wastage.

4. Learn the best techniques

Talk with suppliers about the latest methods for product installation and uses so that you can reduce off-cuts, mistakes and damage that all create waste during construction.

5. Separate waste from recycling

Keep waste materials separate for recycling and reuse. Store them in different skips, bins or piles, and use clear signage so that everyone knows what to do.

6. Just have one spot for waste

Set up a single waste storage area – many smaller bins over one site encourages people to use the nearest bin (and mix up the various waste types making it harder to recycle).

7. Plan your waste systems around construction flows

Different waste types occur at different times in the project so plan your waste separation system around this.
  • Concrete, steel and timber waste occurs during foundations and framing
  • Cladding, plasterboard, electrical cable and insulation waste occurs during the next phase
  • Cardboard, plastic wrap, paint tins and other packaging waste occurs during fit-out.

8. Make re-use easy

Encourage reuse of off-cuts, scraps and so on. Keep them in a handy place until the end of the project.

9. Work with recyclers

Keep a current list of recycling operators in the site office for easy reference. Use the REBRI Waste Management Plan to list the specific recycling operator’s details for the project.

10. Celebrate waste reduction

Organise morning tea shouts when your waste reduction target is achieved. Avoid take away coffee cups though! 

Not convinced? Reducing waste can also save you money

As it turns out, reducing construction waste not only helps the planet, it can also help your bottom line. There are positive economic as well as environmental consequences in buying fewer new materials, recycling waste without having to transport it, or reselling it where it has market value.
Ready to reduce your waste?
At OvaBoard we’re doing our bit to save the planet. We have responsible practices throughout our operations to minimise our environmental impact; our product is made from 100% recycled material and is recyclable. We’re proud to be a member of the New Zealand Green Building Council.
- - -
This pearl of wisdom brought to you by Ovaboard. Protect floors while you work.  
We do our best to provide accurate and insightful content but we’re not perfect! We don’t claim total accuracy or completeness and don’t accept any liability.