reducing waste and making use of recycled materials is no longer the preserve the minority. In fact, the uk’s biggest construction project is leading the way, says david higgins, chief executive of the Olympic delivery authority

Reducing waste and ensuring we re-use materials during construction are at the forefront of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) sustainable development strategy. And as the following 23 pages show, we are not the only organisation that is taking waste minimisation seriously.

The key to our approach is avoiding the production of waste in the first place but also ensuring that we consider any material created through the demolition, remediation and construction work as a resource which can be recycled or re-used elsewhere.

One of the keys to achieving this is early planning and good design. For example, the Olympic Park site has been designed to reduce the need for bringing in new materials to build the landforms within the park. We are currently moving soil which is not needed at the international broadcast centre/main press centre site to the Aquatics Centre site to help raise the ground level there.

Our designers will also be looking at the existing buildings and infrastructure in the area to identify which materials they can reuse in the design of the new park and venues.

The development will see large volumes of material generated through the demolition of the existing buildings in the area and we set ourselves the target of reusing or recycling 90% of this demolition material.

To date, we have not only met that target but have beaten it. Over 95% of the 10,827 tonnes of demolition materials created so far has been recycled or reused. This includes timber recycled for chipboard, metals reused as scrap and plasterboard turned into gypsum powder, as well as reclaiming over 70 tonnes of quality York stone walling which will feature in the finished park and timber from felled trees will be used in newly created log walls.

The work we are doing on waste reduction is just one element of our comprehensive strategy and our hope is that we can demonstrate how a project of this size and scale can set new standards for sustainability and present a step change for construction, development and regeneration.

This is an ambitious target when you consider that this is a construction project twice the size of Heathrow Terminal 5 (see pages 8-11) to be delivered in half the time. Making 2012 the greenest games in modern times and the Olympic Park an exemplar development is, and will continue to be, a huge challenge. One that can only be achieved with the help and support of the industry.