Reduce packaging waste on your construction site

What are the barriers to reducing construction packaging?


Many businesses have the perception that reducing packaging waste on construction sites is a time-consuming and costly exercise. In reality, many of the tools and techniques your business could use are actually very easy to implement with little additional cost:

  • Waste separation only costs more if the sub-contract agreements with waste contractors are not negotiated properly. Mixed-waste skips are always more expensive than separated waste skips.
  • When large amounts of waste are present, using a compact baler can reduce the amount of space waste occupies. If large volumes of similar recyclate are produced using a baler can even eliminate the need for a waste management contractor eg plastic wrapping can be baled for the reprocessor to collect directly.
  • The initial time and effort setting up your supplier agreements to minimise waste will pay for themselves over the life of your project with significant cost savings.

You should consider packaging waste as part of site waste management plans.

Educating workers about packaging on construction sites

One of the most effective ways in which your business can minimise on-site waste is to ensure that people working on site are always aware of how waste impacts on the project and its costs.

Appointing a waste champion can be highly effective. People who instinctively find waste unacceptable are ideal candidates. Or you could get creative - appoint a crane driver as they have a good overview of your site or a dumper driver as they visit all areas. Ultimately you will need to ensure that your waste champion is committed to waste reduction initiatives, and has the confidence to highlight areas for concern and point out examples of bad practice on site without creating tension.

You can raise workforce awareness about on-site waste using a number of techniques including:

  • talks that emphasise the need to be vigilant about waste at all times
  • poster campaigns that can raise awareness and become a constant reminder about managing waste across your entire site
  • signs on or near waste skips that clearly identify the types of waste that should go into each skip
  • incentives to promote good practice amongst sub contractors

Once these measures are in place, it is important to monitor their effectiveness. Look at how waste is being placed in your site skips and whether site workers are separating it correctly. You can then update your training to further enhance the waste awareness of your workforce.