Eliminating waste from our operations makes us more efficient, reduces our demand on the planet’s resources and supports our transition from the linear take-make-dispose model towards circularity.
Zero avoidable waste means preventing waste being generated at every stage of a project’s lifecycle, from the manufacture of materials and products, the design, specification, procurement and assembly of buildings through to deconstruction. At every stage of the construction process, there are opportunities to avoid waste and reuse or recycle products.
By 2030 we will have eliminated avoidable waste from the demolition, excavation and construction phases of our projects.
Where waste is unavoidable, it will be recovered at the highest possible level of the waste hierarchy.
To deliver these ambitions, we have set a number of targets by 2030:
- We will eliminate all avoidable waste during the construction of our projects and any non-hazardous unavoidable waste will be diverted from landfill
- We will reuse 100% of non-hazardous excavation arisings from our sites as a material where technically and practicably possible (either onsite or offsite)
- 100% of our non-hazardous demolition waste will be recovered at the highest possible level of the waste hierarchy
- We will eliminate all avoidable waste in our offices and central services purchasing
- We will have no single-use plastic waste on our sites, in our workplaces or at our events
- We will demonstrate our leadership position with transparent waste reporting externally and clear internal actions and performance reporting
We report our performance against our targets every year as part of our Sustainable Development Review. You can see our performance here.
Waste and recycling at our construction sites
Designing out waste
Waste is a consideration right at the beginning of all of our projects. We use Building Information Modelling (BIM) to improve accuracy, coordination and execution and our people attend designing out waste workshops to identify opportunities to avoid waste.
We have developed a bespoke waste prediction tool which helps our people identify likely waste streams and assists with setting project specific waste reduction targets. To support our projects, we document and share best practice from across the business. These tools help teams to create project specific construction waste elimination plans.
Working with our supply chain
Our supply chain is vital to helping us achieve our waste reduction ambitions. We will work with our supply chain to understand the waste produced from their activities and identify opportunities to avoid and reduce it. Initially we will focus on the trades that generate the highest volumes of waste.
Working with mandated goods suppliers
We maintain close relationships with a number of our key goods suppliers, known as our mandated goods partners. We have set these suppliers individual waste reduction targets and will be working with these partners to identify how we can reduce waste in the goods supplied to our sites.
Take back schemes
Where re-use is not possible, we work with suppliers to develop and identify take-back schemes, encouraging our site teams to use these schemes. The guidance helps our design teams understand where ‘closed loop’ takeback schemes are available and gives our project teams an understanding of which products and materials they can send directly back to manufacturers. A suite of toolbox talks, posters and guidance notes are available within our Environmental Management System.
Our mi|project waste data system allows us to identify waste streams that are difficult to divert from landfill. For these materials, we work with manufacturers to trial alternatives and implement takeback schemes where no alternatives have been identified.
Plastic and packaging waste
We are focussed on eliminating single-use plastics from our sites, in our workplaces and at our events. We will continue to work with our suppliers to identify alternative options.
All our waste contractors must complete a pre-qualification questionnaire to ensure that they meet our standards before they can become approved and listed within our Supply Chain System. We ask that they report their performance in accordance with PAS 402 (a specification for performance reporting for waste management organisations) in accordance with our Sustainable Procurement Policy.
We carry out a detailed audit on their premises, so we can be sure that they have the right processing capabilities. We check their documentation for duty of care compliance and review working conditions for their employees.
Demolition and excavation waste
We have limited control over the volume of waste which comes from demolishing existing buildings or excavating sites. For these streams, we aim to reuse as much material as possible, working closely with our design teams, and our demolition and groundworks supply chain partners to identify opportunities to reuse material, rather than produce waste. Where this waste is classed as hazardous, we seek to identify suitable treatment options to enable re-use, in order to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
Diversion from landfill
In accordance with the waste hierarchy, where waste cannot be avoided, we will aim to recycle as much as possible, so that it can be diverted from landfill. We continue to work towards a zero waste to landfill policy for any waste that cannot be avoided.
We have an environmental management system which is used on all our projects, with areas such as energy use and waste measured through key performance indicators. The environmental system is reviewed annually, as part of our drive for continuous improvement in our environmental performance.