An official New Zealand ecolabel specification supporting waste management companies to reduce the amount of construction and demolition (C&D) waste going to landfill has been launched
The new specification was made possible through a grant from Auckland Council’s Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund (WMIF).
The specification, EC-59 C&D Waste Services, was developed by the New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust (NZET) and included consultation with building industry players and experts.
Parul Sood, Auckland Council's Waste Solutions general manager says the specification is a step in the right direction.
“At the moment, turning C&D waste into resources is a missed economic opportunity. Creating this specification enables Auckland construction companies to confidently support C&D waste service providers who are using best practice to reduce waste.
"It’s another way that we can support a circular economy that re-uses resources and diverts construction waste from landfill. As C&D waste currently accounts for around half of Auckland’s total waste stream, it’s a great place to start in terms of making inroads into reducing our region’s waste.”
NZET general manager Francesca Lipscombe says, “As the official ecolabel for NZ, our goal has been to deliver a powerful ecolabel, which incentivises good practices in C&D waste services. The specification answers a real need in the market and will drive positive change by differentiating service providers by their environmental impact."
“The Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ) label will lend verified providers kudos with customers. Those with the label will be recognised as top performers who reliably demonstrate best-practice around waste minimisation, from waste reduction through recovery, reuse and recycling.”
A feasibility study by the Trust also found that the most significant issue is the amount of material going straight into landfill when it could be reused. Building materials from deconstructions that could be re-used elsewhere include building fittings and fixtures, such as seating, light fittings, kitchen and bathroom sinks, as well as important building componentry and materials such as trusses, timber, corrugated iron, and steel.
Lipscombe says that more people and businesses are looking for services that have a positive impact on the environment and society. She believes the specification will drive real, positive change across the industry and support better management of the projected increase in C&D waste in the coming years.
She says the council’s WMIF grant was crucial to the successful completion of the specification, and NZET are thankful to the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) and WasteMINZ for their ongoing support.
Lipscombe says the C&D Waste Services label will also help verify waste-diversion credits in the NZGBC’s Green Star rating tool – a tool that measures the sustainability credentials of buildings across nine categories.
Have you got a great ‘zero waste’ idea?
If you represent a business, local iwi, or an education or community group with a project that will help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, you could be eligible to apply.