Rubbish bins

Construction and Demolition Waste

What is Construction and Demolition Waste?

The largest single source of landfilled waste in WA is materials and soils from construction and demolition activities (Waste 2020, 2001).  The types of wastes generated from C&D include the removal of unsuitable materials from building sites prior to construction as well as waste from the construction process.  Soil that is either contaminated or unsuitable for building on is also a large part of the waste going to landfill from this stream.

Waste Volumes and Contribution

For the Perth metropolitan area in the year 2000 it has been estimated that 1,500,000 tonnes of waste was generated by the construction and demolition industry and subsequently sent to landfill (Waste 2020, 2001).  Whilst this accounts for almost 55% by weight of the waste landfilled, it occupies less than 50% by volume of landfill space because of the higher density in general of C&D waste.

Waste Reduction in Industry

The largest contribution to the C&D waste stream is soil that has to be removed from a site for health reasons or to facilitate construction, however the removal of this waste to landfill is costly and could be avoided by using this soil to rehabilitate former quarries (if the soil is not contaminated or can not be treated).  The implementation of a resource exchange would allow for waste to be diverted away from landfill by creating a market for it.  Treating contaminated soils on site, where possible, could reduce volumes of soil to landfill.

Recycling in Industry

There is a distinct lack of data pertaining to recycling in the C&D industry making it difficult to ascertain just how much recycling takes place.  However, there is an indication that high value materials are salvaged and recycled and high volume/low value materials are landfilled.  For example, the demolition of a typical old brick house or office building involves the reuse or recycling of nearly all bricks, timber beams, roof tiles, window frames, doors, copper piping, aluminium, baths, toilets, and structural steel.

Illegal Tipping

A large amount of C&D waste material, ranging from asbestos to general rubble, has been illegally tipped in Perth's bushland (Waste 2020, 2001).  This practice has severely compromised some areas of bushland and forest, requiring expensive cleanups and further destruction.  Waste 2020 (2001) has recommended development of a strategy to address this issue, including harsher penalties.

References

  1. Towards Zero Waste: Actions for the Construction and Demolition Sector, 2001, Waste 2020 Task Force.
  2. Draft Strategy for the Management of Construction & Demolition Waste in Western Australia - Pending

Other Links

Construction and Demolition Fact Sheet – Carpet - California Integrated Waste Management Board

Construction and Demolition Case Study - Presidio of San Francisco, Building 901 - California Integrated Waste Management Board

Construction and Demolition Case Study - CANMET Advanced Houses Program - California Integrated Waste Management Board

Construction and Demolition Fact Sheet - Recycled Aggregate - California Integrated Waste Management Board

Controlled Waste Information Fact Sheet (asbestos)