As you may have read, we were excited to announce recently that The Siding was the winner of two 2016 MBA WA Excellence in Construction Awards: Waste Management and Energy Efficiency. Waste Management was a large focus for The Siding project, and we worked very closely with our builder Right Homes and construction waste management provider Instant Waste Management to significantly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill during construction, instead ensuring waste was recycled where possible.
To explain in more detail how we improved the waste management process on The Siding project to win the MBA Award we have a guest on the blog today – Jake Hickey, State Resource Development Manager for Instant Waste Management.
How The Siding won the 2016 MBA WA Excellence in Construction Award for Waste Management
Effectively communicating with all involved parties
When we at Instant Waste Management engaged with The Green Swing and Right Homes on The Sidings project, we were excited to help reduce the construction waste sent to landfill from the project as we are firm believers in recycling waste wherever possible.
We got to work early on in the project, engaging with the all involved parties to ensure we were all on the same page. The builders, architects and designers involved in the project all attended tours of our Material Recovery Facility where we took them through how construction materials can be reused (to create fill sand, road base and aggregate for use in future sustainable construction projects), the ease of recycling, and discussed the benefits of source separation verses commingled recycling to decide which was best for this project.
Source separation verses commingled recycling
On large commercial projects where space is available, it is easy to separate waste into clean streams at the source with little contamination. However, on residential sites where space is tight (narrow frontages are common now, as low as 7 metres compared to the old 12 meters), when space allows, we can provide timber bins, metal and general waste bins, but usually we just provide commingled recycling skips for all construction waste, and later take these to our Material Recovery Facility where we can separate and recycle the majority of the waste.
On the sidings we provided commingled skips for the construction waste (rubble, sand, cement, bricks, timber and metal). There was also some source separation with different bins for food, cardboard, commingled plastics & some strapping materials.
To ensure ongoing support of the waste management goals there was also ongoing communication with the site team, The Green Swing and Right Homes during the construction works, to help manage various waste streams.
The end result was a waste management system that achieved its targets of >95% recycling by weight with engagement with a range of stakeholders who attended various open days like the Major of Fremantle & other architects who were interested in how the project was developed.
Educating the future of the industry
With the fantastic work being done by The Green Swing and Right Homes to improve the sustainability of their construction processes, it’s no wonder they are involved in educating the future of the industry with their involvement with students from Murdoch University studying waste in the construction process, and we were delighted to be able to lend a hand in this aspect too.
The students undertook a site survey of the project and we took them on a tour of our Materials Recovery Facility to further inform their studies of the project. Finally, they visited us to review their papers before submitting them towards their final degree dissertations.
What does the future for waste minimisation hold for Perth as the most remote capital city in the southern hemisphere?
Diverting construction waste from landfill to recycling plants is fantastic in theory, but if the recycled waste cannot be used then what is the benefit? If there is no commercial benefit to be gained from recycling waste, the risk is that the importance of recycling will be forgotten in favour of the ease of sending all waste to landfill. For example, in the past, paper & cardboard as well as plastics separated on site in Perth didn’t tend to have a very good export market, because of how remote Perth is as a capital city. The cost of transportation detracted from the value of the materials. This was caused by the changes in the dollar and policy of overseas countries that didn’t want to take poorly processed materials overseas to be recycled by cheaper labour. So we have to find different and innovative ways to recycle waste materials. For example, we don’t have glass bottle washing facilities in Perth, so glass material is now down-cycled into glass wool, road base or filtration for pools.
And there are even more innovative ways on the horizon that recycled material will be commercialised. The possibility of ‘waste-to-energy’ facilities powering homes with electricity instead of digging up more landfills and using coal-fired power stations is becoming more of a real possibility daily.
Only time will tell the exciting ways construction waste can be used to benefit the country (and the world), rather than filling up landfills, but the important things is for businesses like Right Homes and The Green Swing to continue innovating their construction processes to be more sustainable for the future.