Green Business Network
SDC Construction was so impressed after process development manager Richard Stokes attended the CIWM Waste Awareness Certificate course that it sent a further five members of staff to do the course.
In fact, as a result of looking at reuse and being made aware of agencies that could help with alternative methods of disposing of waste gained through involvement with the BETI+ course and Green Business Network, SDC won an award at the Eastex Materials Exchange conference. The company sent 20,000 tonnes of topsoil for re-use, rather than sending it to landfill, which resulted in savings of £50,000. This topsoil was advertised via Eastex, NISP, and SDC’s own contacts and around a dozen different companies took the topsoil for reuse.
“Waste management is really about waste reduction. This involves looking at the whole life cycle of the product from design, ordering, delivery, checking materials coming on-site, handling and storage. If we get these things right, our waste will be reduced and we will save a substantial amount of money.”
Richard explained that the business has carried out a lot of research into waste, not only to meet the forthcoming requirements for site waste management plans, but also because the company recognizes the potential to make huge cost savings. The initial approach it has taken has been to trial waste management plans on a few sites to find out where issues exist and to look at how things can be done better. The intention is then to roll the management plans out across all sites towards the end of 2007 and into early 2008.
Richard explains: “Initially, this will focus on segregating and recording the waste produced. While most sites are separating metals and wood and hardcore, we need to start to take this to the next stage. We need to drive home the message that this is not just an environmental/legal issue but that it will save us money.” Current estimates suggest that segregating waste on site rather than having this done at a waste transfer station will produce substantial cost savings. The company has also got a lot smarter at negotiating prices for waste disposal. One person is now dealing with ordering skips for all sites and negotiating prices down because materials are segregated on-site.
SDC has other plans in train for reducing waste and disposing of it responsibly. For instance, laws permitting, the company intends to move material from one site to another for reuse wherever possible. On smaller sites, it wants to enable unused materials to be made available to community projects. As Richard says: “It beats putting it in a skip.” But the major push will be to ensure that the waste isn’t generated in the first place.