Halving Waste

Paul Mathers

The WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) Halving Waste to Landfill agreement celebrates its first anniversary this month with 190 signatories in the first 12 months. Its popularity to date is a sign that the construction industry is taking waste reduction very seriously – but what part does the landscape community need to play’ Paul Mathers, Landscape and Regeneration Programme Manager at WRAP explains…

In October last year, WRAP launched the Halving Waste to Landfill agreement, a voluntary commitment designed to help the construction industry drive towards a 50% reduction by 2012. With the construction industry responsible for 25 million tonnes of landfill waste every year, the WRAP target is significant and, while it does require collaboration by all parts of the supply chain, it is entirely achievable.
Many of the signatories to the agreement are construction clients and contractors. These businesses will increasingly be looking to work with supply chain partners who understand the waste reduction commitment they are making and can play an active part in helping them meet their targets. This is where landscapers will need to be able to prove they are not only aware of the need to reduce waste but are also committed to ensuring their own working practices mirror those of their clients.
For landscapers working on construction projects, the focus on resource efficiency also represents an opportunity to work in a way that will ultimately benefit their bottom line – with environmental benefits an added incentive. Because excavation, demolition and construction waste can be a resource in its own right, recycling and reuse should always be considered first as this reduces both disposal and material costs.
The reuse of materials goes hand in hand with reducing waste. For example, disposing of low quality soil and replacing it with imported new topsoil may be one way of improving the soil on a construction site but it will also incur the costs outlined above. However, by embracing the principles of waste reduction and resource efficiency, many of these costs can be reduced or even eliminated.
For example, BSI PAS 100 compost – a quality assured, safe and reliable material – can be used to improve and manufacture topsoil. Quality compost contains a wide range of important nutrients and minerals such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus which support the healthy growth and establishment of vegetation.
In one trial conducted in North Lanarkshire, derelict land on a housing estate in Coatbridge was transformed into new park land through the mixture of existing poor quality soil and imported BSI PAS 100 compost. In doing this, landscape architect Martin Berkley Environmental Design eliminated waste and the need to purchase topsoil with a strategy that made use of recycled material.
This is just one example of how the use of recycled content and onsite materials can help reduce waste. By embracing the concept of resource efficiency through WRAP’s Halving Waste to Landfill commitment, landscapers can both meet the needs of their clients and save costs – critical factors in the current economic climate.

More information on WRAP’s Halving Waste to Landfill commitment can be found on WRAP’s website. Visit www.wrap.org.uk/construction/halving_waste_to_landfill for information on how to sign up to the commitment or you can contact Paul Mathers on 01295 817899.