Construction Waste Management

Construction Waste Management

After a construction project is completed, a major task begins for the site supervisor – removing the piles of waste or debris from the site. Earlier, the common method of handling waste disposal would be to dump them in landfills, causing hazards to soil, animals, and even humans. But now, with advanced recycling/reusing techniques giving new dimensions to construction waste management, waste is not all waste, and construction is less hazardous, less energy-consuming, and more economical.

Due to the growing rate of urbanization and infrastructure development in India, the construction industry is one of the country’s greatest contributors to garbage generation, making construction waste management an increasingly alarming issue. 

Awareness of the benefits of construction waste management is of prime importance as it helps construction companies operate more sustainably, cut costs, and build a higher reputation in the community. 

What is Construction Waste Management?

Construction waste management is a set of measures that helps a construction project to be more sustainable, and more cost-effective, with reduced impacts on the environment. 

This is based on the research findings that 

  1. Commercial construction typically generates between 1 -1.5 kg. of solid waste per square foot, the vast majority of which is recyclable.
  1. Construction and demolition (C&D) waste salvage and recycling can significantly reduce demand for virgin materials and the accompanying environmental implications. 

A construction waste management plan’s primary goal is to divert construction waste from landfill disposal in order to reduce the volume of materials dumped during construction. 

Additionally, it tries to reroute reused materials to the proper locations and recyclable recovered resources back to the construction process. 

Importance of Waste Management in Construction

Construction waste management is increasingly being adopted these days due to the following benefits:

  • Reduced environmental impact 
  • Cost reduction
  • Meeting regulatory requirements
  • Keeping track of materials
  • Building a higher reputation 

Reduced Environmental Impact

Because of the volume of construction waste created, construction projects can have a significant negative impact on the environment. Efficient construction waste management can help to reduce this harm by limiting the amount of waste produced and disposal of all waste that is produced. 

By reusing materials, reducing unnecessary packaging, and properly disposing of hazardous items, construction teams can help reduce their total environmental effect.

Cost Reduction

Construction waste management helps to save money. By reusing resources such as concrete and metal, construction teams can reduce the need to purchase new materials for subsequent projects. 

Construction teams can also save money on disposal fees (if applicable) by minimizing waste and disposing of it appropriately.

Meeting Regulatory Requirements

Construction waste management practice helps a project meet regulatory standards for the disposal of construction waste and hazardous materials and avoid fines and legal implications. 

Keeping Track of Materials

Monitoring the materials used during construction is also an important benefit of effective construction waste management. This can help construction teams accurately estimate the number of materials needed for a project and track the amount of waste generated.

Construction teams can save money and prevent waste by ordering only what they need and keeping track of their materials.

Building Reputation

By actively decreasing waste in your building projects, you may differentiate your company from the competition by being a ‘green’ builder. Clients that recognise the impact trash may have on their costs and public image is increasingly looking for contractors who understand and pursue waste reduction.

Different Types of Construction Waste

  • Inert Waste: 

Because it is non-reactive and does not break down, it does not affect the environment. Inert waste includes bricks, concrete, soil, pebbles, and asphalt.

  • Non-hazardous Waste: 

Also known as general waste, this form of construction waste includes elements that do not directly harm the environment or human health. Non-hazardous waste materials include wood, cardboard, plastics, glass, and metal.

  • Hazardous Waste: 

This form of building waste has the potential to harm the environment, animals, and humans and requires processing before disposal to reduce its harmful effects. Chemicals, asbestos, lead-based paint, and polluted soil are all examples of hazardous waste in the construction business. If hazardous waste is not adequately managed, it can harm wildlife, pollute the environment and water supplies, and be damaging to human health.

Waste Management Procedure for Construction Sites

Each type of construction waste management requires a different approach. The following are some strategies for managing every kind of waste:

1.  Inert Waste Management:

  • Sort the waste on-site and segregate the inert materials from other waste types
  • Reuse materials where possible, for example, smash concrete and use it as a road base.
  • Recycle materials that can be crushed and reused in new construction, such as asphalt and concrete.
  • Dispose of inert waste at an allowed landfill or disposal site.

2.  Non-hazardous Waste Management:

  • Sort non-hazardous waste from other forms of debris and then store it in a specific location.
  • Create a platform for recycling materials like cardboard, plastic, and metal.
  • Reuse materials wherever possible, such as using wooden pallets for other projects.
  • Place non-hazardous waste in a designated landfill or disposal site.

3.  Hazardous Waste Management:

  • Using the right labels and storage methods, identify hazardous waste and segregate it from other waste types.
  • Get in touch with a licensed hazardous waste contractor to collect and dispose of the hazardous waste following local regulations.
  • Store hazardous waste in a safe location to prevent pollution.
  • Train workers on appropriate handling and disposal of hazardous waste.
  • Adopt a waste management strategy that includes a hazardous waste management plan, an emergency response strategy, and a leakage prevention, control, and countermeasure strategy.

How to Integrate Waste Management Concept into the Construction Work Ethos

A construction waste-management plan should recognize project waste as an integral part of overall materials management, 

The premise that waste management is a part of materials management, and the recognition that one project’s waste is material available for another project leads to an efficient and effective waste management process.

For the success of a construction project, waste management requirements should be spelled out early in the design process and be the topic of discussion at both pre-construction and ongoing regular job meetings, to ensure that contractors and subcontractors are fully informed of the implications of these requirements on their work prior to and throughout the construction Process.