You can barely turn on the television these days without someone mentioning climate change and it is the same with social media; you can’t escape the impact of global warming. It has been a hot topic for the past 30-odd years, however more recently it has seemingly become scorching!
In the UK, the Construction Industry employs 2.4m people and in 2018, the industry was worth £117bn making up 6% of the UK’s economy. It’s big business! One of the pitfalls of such a prolific industry is the large amounts of waste created and, according WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), 100 million tonnes of construction waste are produced by the industry, of which 25 million tonnes ends up in landfill every year. Construction companies have a legal obligation to ensure that all waste is handled safely and within the law by checking that the waste collection services used are registered waste carriers and that the waste is taken to a registered waste management site with a Waste Transfer Note produced. The law doesn’t however stipulate that waste must be recycled or re-used when possible.
In 2013, the government issued ‘Construction 2025’, a strategy for the construction industry. Part of the report focused on sustainability with the view to building a low-carbon construction industry and reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by the industry by 50%. This is a step in the right direction but at the moment, without laws to police this, the onus is on the individual companies to create best practices. WRAP have produced a guidance document entitled ‘Reducing your construction waste’ which extols the virtues of adopting a Reduce > Reuse > Recycle policy which can be found at http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Reducing%20your%20construction%20waste%20-%20a%20pocket%20guide%20for%20SME%20contractors.pdf. It gives practical advice on how to reduce building waste and lists the benefits which not only include a positive environmental impact but the reduction of accidents, reduction of costs and generation of income. Whilst this leaflet was written over 5 years ago, it still gives relevant and practical advice.
At 3-Space, we have made changes to lower our environmental impact through waste reduction and are ISO:14001 accredited. We have recycling initiatives in place at HQ which include a twice monthly paper shredding and recycling service. We have a number of recycling bins in the office and even the coffee pods from our coffee machine are sent away to be recycled. On site we try and re-use existing materials as much as possible and anything for waste is streamed and taken away to be disposed of responsibly. Probably most importantly, the offices we design are built to be long-lasting and sustainable with future proofing being taken into account. By using quality materials to build with and by purchasing robust furniture which will stand the test of time, we are discouraging a throw-away culture, reducing waste and ultimately benefitting the environment.