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Waste Aware Construction

Frequently Asked Questions

You can use this FAQ to find answers to your construction based Reduce, Reuse and Recycle queries.  The FAQ lists all the questions that we are often asked.


What constitutes 'Mixed Waste'?
In construction terminology, mixed waste is all the waste created on the site which is not hazardous. Hazardous waste on its own is defined by the European Waste Calalogue 2002, and must not be confused with 'mixed waste' as described by the European Waste Calalogue 2002.

Why 'Mixed Waste'?
On-site mixing of waste has been employed for more than 50 years therefore most on-site construction operatives know what mixed waste is.

Waste Aware Construction aims to implement cultural change to achieve an understanding of on-site waste stream separation. The mixed waste stream will be, for the next couple of years at least, the most commonly used skip/bin simply because operatives on-site do not have to think about separating any of the wastes if they choose not to. In the short term, the mixed waste skip must be given a prominent position on the site.

What happens to 'Mixed Waste'?
'Mixed Waste' is taken to a transfer station where it is fed into a number of picking stations and trammels. These separate the various types of waste stream products such as paper, cardboard, plastic, metals and wood for recycling.

Why waste stream colour coding?
The use of primary colours enable construction industry employees to easily identify which materials go into each receptacle. This leads to a greater awareness of recycling and a fundamental understanding of the range of recyclable materials in the workplace and at home.

The aforementioned colour coding scheme has been in operation on several of the Case Study sites since March 2004. Construction managers have reported a good response to the colour coding scheme, with little on-site contamination of separated waste stream skips.

Do materials need to be separated before being put into the compactor?
The materials that are placed into the compactor must only ever be soft-crushable materials. So, for example, on-site yellow wheelie bins should only ever collect plastics, polythenes, cardboard etc. which will then be transferred into the compactor.

Every waste stream which can be placed into the compactor does NOT need to be separated individually, as they end up getting mixed in the compactor chamber anyway. In essence, the compactor waste is a form of mixed waste but just for soft-crushable materials.

If all materials go into the compactor together, what happens to this material in the end?
The compactor waste goes back to a transfer station for recycling. The materials from the compactor are emptied at the transfer station. They are then sorted to capture all of the materials that are recyclable.

How will construction industry employees differentiate between waste streams such as light weight metals and small wood offcuts as opposed to the larger materials?
The Waste Aware Construction material on-site will be supported by ‘tool-box talks’ which cover a whole host of on-site operations. These include:

  • Waste awareness
  • Health and safety
  • Environmental aspects
  • Construction practices

The tool box talks for waste awareness will be used to highlight which materials can and cannot be placed into the compactor and other receptacles.















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