A plan for construction and demolition waste

By Steve Ducker14 September 2022

At Hughes and Salvidge, along with other group members offering complementary services, we are aware of the environmental impact of their services and take every measure possible reduce waste to landfill, recycle demolition arisings – typically achieving over 96% – and minimise transport movements.

Hughes and Salvidge C&D waste recycling project Hughes and Salvidge typically achieves a 96% recycling rate on demolition arisings. (Photo: Hughes and Salvidge).

Our Green Hands Initiative is an internal environmental strategy and action plan that includes seven key performance categories: COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health); Waste; Sustainability; Procurement; Environment; Health and Wellbeing; and Community.

1. Indentify C&D waste targets

Each category covers one of the main targets currently identified through our existing Environmental Management System, and is made up of a series action points that allow us to see what we are doing well and provides us with steps for positive reinforcement, improvement and development.

The Official United Kingdom Statistics on Waste Report published by Defra (the government’s department of the environment, food and rural affairs, updated in May, confirmed 67.8 million t of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste was generated, with a 92.3% recovery rate.

2. Establish a waste hierarchy

With a large production of waste, a critical element within demolition works is the control and management of waste produced on site and its movements after it has left site.

Waste production is inevitable within demolition, but a fundamental approach to our management of waste is following a Waste Hierarchy, as a method to minimise the volume of waste being generated and to avoid disposal to landfill if possible.

This starts with reduction as the most desirable option, progressing through reuse, recycling, and recovery – or energy from waste – to disposal and landfill at the bottom of the hierarchy.

3. Determine what can be removed from the building

Typically, as we begin our works, the waste prevention element of the waste hierarchy has already been established and the demolition programme has already been developed based on buildings that cannot remain and need demolishing.

However, at this stage, equipment and material within the buildings may be identified as items that do not need to be demolished and can be removed from the building to be used elsewhere.

Likewise, before works begin, we assess what materials and equipment will be required during the demolition phases and will only order the required amount to avoid of overordering materials.

Similarly, at this stage we are able to determine what equipment will be needed during demolition and can ensure to avoid using single-use tools and packaging as waste prevention methods.

4. Waste separation and segregation

An essential role within demolition works is the separation and segregation of waste at demolition source, to determine materials that can be reused, recycled or recovered.

Materials such as clean concrete and masonry arisings are often crushed to create a recycled aggregate, which can be reused on site for backfilling purposes or within future construction use. All non-contaminated metals on site are salvaged and 100% recycled at metal recycling facilities off site. Mixed construction waste will be transported to local recycling sorting facilities with recycling rates between 90 and 95%.

When recycling, reuse or recovery opportunities are not possible – waste is disposed of through an approved waste management contractor and waste management contractors will be selected based on their legal compliance, waste recovery performance, equipment suitability and waste traceability.

5. Managing hazardous liquids

We have to handle and manage hazardous waste such as asbestos or hazardous liquids. Specific procedures and control measures are in place to ensure for compliant management.

Hazardous waste must be disposed of using the correct facilities and have separate measures to non-hazardous waste to control for correct storage, handling and disposal. Hazardous waste will always be segregated from non-hazardous waste at all times in separate containers that are clearly labelled identifying the contents and its European Waste Code (EWC).

All hazardous waste must be stored in areas over 10 m (32 ft) away from any environmentally sensitive areas such as surface water drains, waterbodies or sensitive habitats.

  • For more coverage of C&D waste recycling, see the September-October issue of Demolition & Recycling International, published later this month
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