31 August 2021 4 min read

Construction and Demolition Waste Management


Only in the UK, every year we produce millions of tonnes of construction garbage. Check out our article to read about the new, circular strategy of dealing with waste and learn why it is an excellent opportunity for the environment but simultaneously a considerable challenge for construction companies!

Let's face it. The construction industry affects the environment heavily. It contributes to 23% of air pollution, 40% of drinking water pollution, and even 50% landfill waste. Moreover, each year millions of tons of rubbish are generated (only in the UK!). So to stop climate change, we must rethink many processes of our business.

One of them is construction and demolition waste management. Only in 2016, the UK's construction and demolition (C&D) industry generated 66.2 million tonnes of non-hazardous waste. It is almost 62% of all debris generated in the UK! That is why, in today's article, we will try to take a look at the current strategies dealing with waste management and resulting from the demolition industry's challenges.

Types of Construction and Demolition Waste

What types of waste the demolition sector has to deal with? It is hard to say, especially as nowadays, the construction industry uses various kinds of materials. However, we can divide it into major and minor components based on the frequency of occurrence in demolition processes.

Major components
  • Cement concrete
  • Bricks
  • Cement plaster
  • Steel (from RCC, door/window frames, roofing support, railings of staircase etc.)
  • Rubble
  • Stone (marble, granite, sand stone)
  • Timber/wood (especially in the demolition of old buildings)
Minor components
  • Conduits (iron, plastic)
  • Pipes (GI, iron, plastic)
  • Electrical fixtures (copper/aluminium wiring, wooden baton, bakelite/plastic switches, wire insulation)
  • Panels (wooden, laminated)
  • Others (glazed tiles, glass panes)

Source: http://cpheeo.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/chap4.pdf

As you can see, many of these materials can be recycled or even easily used again in building processes. So how to do it properly? One of the most popular strategies nowadays is circular waste management.

Linear vs Circular Waste Management

For many years the whole construction industry was based on linear waste management. What does it mean? The production process recalled a line:

  • The company used new components in the construction processes

  • Then it created a product/building

  • In case of any leftovers (or when the product was not needed anymore), the company just threw it away.

This way of production was closely connected to the assumption that the process must be the cheapest possible. It resulted in low-quality, toxic materials, which you could not recycle.

Nowadays, when we are more aware of climate change and our impact on the environment, the construction industry is trying to move towards circular waste management. In this process, the waste is reused as many times as possible, creating new value every time. When it is no longer possible to reuse such components, the responsible recycling process becomes the main aim.

The main rules for proper circular management are:

  1. High-quality products from the start - reusing the same material many times in different processes is possible only when it is high-quality and non-toxic. The companies responsible for the building process should ensure that their components are solid and will not collapse or fall apart during the renovation process.

  2. Design for disassembly - except for high-quality materials, in order to make circular waste management possible, the components from which the building is made should be combined in an easy to separate, reused and reconfigured way.

  3. Extended product-life - dealing with waste is an important issue. However, we should also focus on prolonging the lifespan of components and materials that are still in use. Maybe all that is needed is a repair, upgrade or replacement of small parts instead of throwing the whole part away?

  4. Selective demolition - here is the most crucial point from today's article perspective. During the demolition process, the components should be removed and disposed of thoughtfully. It applies to easily recycled materials and toxic elements, which, if managed incorrectly, might be a massive threat to your employee's safety.

Challenges for Demolition Companies with Waste Management

Even though circular waste management is a great possibility to build and deal with waste more environmentally friendly, it is not challenge-free. After all, it is not anymore a non-complicated process, where you just have to demolish a building and get rid of debris. Instead, the new circular approach requires a more skilled workforce and extensive safety measures for the recycling and dismantling processes. Not to mention the time aspect!

To sum up, the demolition companies have to deal with more complicated, more time-consuming processes. Moreover, if the operations are not managed optimally, you risk the business's financial stability! So, taking all that into account, is there the light at the end of the tunnel?

Actually, there is! The best thing you can do is focus on your processes and analyse if all aspects of project delivery and business management work as they should. What does it mean? Take a look at your processes!

Maybe it is time to support your company with project management solutions?

Digital Support in Better Waste Management

If your company is a part of the Demolition Sector, we want to say it loud and clear. You are not left alone with those challenges. The world is changing extremely fast, but so is technology, which you can use to manage your processes better. One of them is wholesome management software. Such a platform helps you monitor the financial health of your project and, at the same time, supports the project management processes. Moreover, it enables you to schedule demolition processes reducing the risk of any delays and downtimes!

Check out our business management solutions!

How about you? How do waste management processes look in your company?
Do you recycle some of the materials and use them again in your operations?
Or, do you feel like managing demolition activities and the recycling ones would be too much to handle?

If yes, it might be a sign that you need support in your project management processes!

Contact us!

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2024-05-18 11:13:35