How the construction industry is tackling waste

Last Updated : 10 Sep 2020
How the construction industry is tackling waste

The construction and demolition industry is one of the country’s largest waste producers by weight. It makes up around half of all waste going to landfill, but industry leaders are creating innovations to recover valuable materials instead of letting them go to waste.

The Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund (WMIF) funds projects from businesses, local iwi, and education and community groups that will divert waste from landfill.

Here are a few successful construction projects to inspire your thinking about zero waste:

The free way to get construction materials

CivilShare is making it easier for the construction industry to give unwanted materials a new life and to avoid sending waste to landfill. CivilShare is an online marketplace for people to buy, sell, trade, and share construction resources. They used WMIF funds to further develop their project.

You can download the app for free and share, swap, buy or hire construction materials, equipment and resources. More than 11,223 tonnes have been diverted from landfill by the first 1989 trades using the app. 

10 tonnes per week saved on Waiheke

When Waiheke resident Jeremy O’Hanlon took over The Rubbish Company, he noticed a big problem with the amount of construction waste heading to landfill, saying,

“We looked at the volumes we were picking up and it was hard to watch over 150 tonnes a month, most of which could be recycled, going to landfill.”

He used WMIF funding to set up The 10 Ton Project, a system to collect and divert those materials, with a goal of keeping 10 tonnes a week out of landfill. When a bin from a construction site is collected, they sort through the waste and split it into what can be reused right away and what needs to be sent off the island for recycling.

Look for the label and choose the environment

The New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust has developed an ecolabel specification for construction and demolition (C&D) waste management to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.

The Trust administers the Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ) ecolabel on behalf of the Government. The special label is licence that waste management organisations can apply for, to prove their C&D waste disposal processes are environmentally preferable. This allows customers to check and see if their construction company is environmentally friendly.

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.”

Apply now

Waste minimisation start-ups and initiatives are encouraged to think about how Auckland Council funding could enhance or expand their work.

Applicants do not need to be based in the Auckland region, as long as their project makes a significant impact to the area. Grants range from $250 - $50,000 and are funded by the waste levy.

Learn more about when and how to apply.

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