Do Waste Bins really matter? Tips for better management of Waste
Construction inevitably produces waste. Managing waste is, thus a continuous challenge for any site. Many projects employ a waste management company to haul away the waste, but there is still the matter of containing and managing waste on-site.
For large quantities of waste, a roll-on skip is commonly the solution. Most removal companies will handle splitting the waste into recyclable and non-recyclable streams. However, for more minor projects, it may be cost ineffective to hire a waste or debris removal company. In this case, waste should be split on-site into items which can be reused, items which can be recycled and things that are going to be waste. Clients, these days, expect that anything which can be recycled should be.
This means a waste assessment should be undertaken before commencing the project and decide what can be reused on future projects (or for some projects even sell), establish what can be recycled and work out in advance if you will have hazardous waste (for example, if you are demolishing an older building it is quite likely you will encounter asbestos). You can then hire the appropriate size and number of skip bins, which should be properly labelled for each kind of waste.
For hazardous waste, you need waste bins assessed for the kind of waste, and will need to comply with the disposal regulations for your area. Likely hazardous waste from demolition or remodelling work includes asbestos, lead (pipes or paint), PCBs, solvents, chemicals, electronics and fluorescent lights (even CFLs are considered hazardous). A debris removal company will generally not take hazardous waste, and the best option is to involve a specialist. Australian law specifies that hazardous waste be labelled and risk mitigated, which may involve using closed drums instead of open bins, removing the waste from the site promptly as well as correct transportation.
For non-hazardous waste, open bins or skips are generally sufficient. Remember that man-portable bins have to stay man-liftable and consider using roll-on skips for all heavy waste (asphalt, metal, etc). Also, make sure that bins are solid enough to handle the weight of the waste you intend to deposit and that you have enough of them to keep up productivity (a worker who is walking across the site finding a waste bin is not working on anything important). Locate small bins for light waste appropriately.
Finally, green waste should be handled separately. Green waste is comprised of grass clippings, twigs, branches, plants, etc. A sustainable company should establish arrangements to compost green waste, which should thus be stored separately. Green waste is best stored in a bin that can be covered as it can develop an unpleasant odor quickly. Consider adding food waste (from employee lunches) to the bin as this is suitable for composting. If you do, place a clearly labeled small bin in the break room or break area for food waste, making sure to educate employees on what can and cannot be placed in it. Talk to your debris removal company about whether they can take compostable waste and what other options you have.
In short – construction waste should be separated if possible and placed in appropriate skips or bins. Non-hazardous debris can be placed in open bins but, due to its weight, is best transported in “roll-on” skips which can be pulled straight onto a vehicle. Hazardous waste must be placed in appropriately-rated storage containers. Green waste should be kept separate and put in bins that have a lid or cover to reduce odors. A responsible construction company uses the right bin for the right job – and also takes reasonable steps to reuse, recycle and reduce waste.
To learn more please contact Sustainable Certification Pty Ltd