Construction Waste Management Guide: How To Dispose Of Construction Waste

The construction and demolition industries, unsurprisingly, produce an incredible amount of waste. Over 400 million tonnes of natural resources are used each year by these industries, and from that, over 100 million tonnes of waste is produced – this accounts for around 60% of all waste produced in the UK. While that sounds scary, you will be pleased to know that around 93% of that is recovered and used again. However, if we want to achieve that zero waste to landfill target, there’s still room for improvement.

In this guide, the Brown Recycling team will be covering construction waste in-depth, and also sharing some tips on how we can all get better at managing and recycling it.


Waste in the construction industry

Firstly, before we start looking at tips, let’s take a look at some of the key types of construction waste that you might find on a site. These are:

  • Mixed construction waste : This is what might spring to mind initially when you think of construction waste. This can include anything from insulation, wiring/cabling, rebar and other constructional scrap metals, plasterboard, wood, bricks, blocks and cement/concrete (cured). Most of these sorts of materials can be easily recycled or used again for different projects.
  • Groundworks waste : These are the sorts of materials that are removed in order for a construction project to begin. For example, trees and tree stumps, rubble, soil, hardcore, and other forms of debris.
  • Hazardous waste: Hazardous waste will occur as a byproduct of certain onsite processes. Types of hazardous waste generated on construction sites include: mastic tubes, paint tins, solvent tins, waste oil and fuels, batteries (containing lead, mercury and acid), fluorescent tubes/bulbs and aerosol cans.
  • Demolition waste: Demolition waste can include any of the above types of waste, but the key criterion that makes it demolition waste is that it was created as a byproduct of the demolition process. Concrete, wood, bricks, metal, plastic, insulation, glass and asbestos (hazardous) are all common types of demolition waste.

According to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, it is a legal requirement for businesses to properly recycle or dispose of their waste. This applies to those that produce, import or export, transport, store, treat, or dispose of waste.


Common questions regarding construction waste management

In this section, we’re going to be going over some of the key questions and points of consideration that those taking on construction projects might ask. These are:

  • What types of containers can be provided for the different waste streams? Given that no two construction projects are the same, any size of skip or waste container might be required. Here at Brown Recycling, we offer 3, 4 and 8-yard regular skips, as well as 12 and 14-yard chain lift skips, and also 20, 35 and 40-yard hook lift skips. We also offer a muck away tipper truck service for removal of excavated groundworks waste. This ensures that our construction clients have everything they need to control their waste.
  • How can we segregate our waste? Different stages of a project will produce different types and amounts of waste. Planning on-site segregation can be easily done using standard signage to indicate where each waste stream should go. This will make your site cleaner and safer. If you would like to learn more about site signage, please contact our construction waste recycling experts who will be able to help you develop your site waste management plan (SWMP).
  • What will be done with our waste when it is collected? It will be recycled, it is as simple as that. Brown Recycling ensures that your waste is processed in the most environmentally-friendly way at one of our materials recovery facilities (MRF). The following materials will be segregated and reprocessed, ready to be repurposed into new products: cardboard, paper, hardcore (bricks, blocks and concrete), inert (soils), plastics, wood, plasterboard and scrap metal. The non-recyclable materials left over from the process are what we call “residual waste”. We will process this waste into refuse-derived fuel (RDF) that is used as feedstock at energy from waste (EFW) facilities to generate heat and power.
  • Do you have suggestions on how to re-use specific construction waste streams on site? Aggregates can be reused on site for land restoration. This would include waste streams of bricks, blocks and soils. Get in touch with the construction waste recycling experts here at Brown Recycling to arrange for a site audit and find out if you can improve your environmental credentials by applying the waste hierarchy.


Recommended waste management solutions in construction

In this section, we’re going to be talking about some of the key waste management solutions that you’re going to require during your construction project. As we touched on earlier, finding the right waste container for your project is absolutely essential and will play a fundamental role in controlling the waste you create on site.

The most commonly used skip sizes on any scale construction project are the 8 yard builders skip and the 12 and 14-yard skip, all chain-lift. However, for large scale projects (i.e. demolition projects), the bulk carrying 20 to 40 yard hook-lift skips are usually preferred, especially when working to a deadline.

While mixed-waste skips might be better suited to smaller projects, larger projects will more likely benefit from a source-segregated waste stream approach (on-site waste segregation). While this requires more waste containers and more space on site, it also means that you can have your segregated recyclable waste streams collected at discounted rates – saving you money – and your overall waste recycling rate for the project will be much higher (as high as 100%, assuming there’s no contamination). For larger companies, having this sort of recycling rate is absolutely essential if you want to meet testing targets and be eligible for certain certifications, such as BREEAM.

Here at Brown Recycling, we’re always striving to help construction companies meet such targets, which is why we can offer a variety of different waste containers to meet your requirements, and we will always aim to recycle 100% of the segregated waste that you generate.


If you’re looking for a partner for your next construction project, look no further than Brown Recycling. Based in Stoke-on-Trent, we have been offering our services and expertise to construction companies in the surrounding areas for many years, so you can be sure that we will be able to steer your project to success and help you stay legally compliant. Give us a call today for more information.


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