Construction is ’most wasteful industry’

Defra has called upon the construction sector to clean up its record as the most wasteful industry.

In its “Waste Review” report, published this week, Defra said there must be “a greater focus on waste reduction at the design stages of construction projects, as this is where the largest environmental and financial savings can be made”.

Defra said a total of 165.1 million tonnes of waste was generated by UK households and industry in 2008. It claimed that the largest contributing sectors were construction, demolition and excavation, which were responsible for 81.4 million tonnes.

The government is benchmarking waste reduction against EU targets, which stipulate that, by 2020, 70% of all waste from the construction sector should be recovered.
It proposes a reduction in the disposal of biodegradable waste and wood, an increase in “recycling on the go” schemes and a clampdown on fly-tippers. Defra claims that this will lead to an expansion of the UK’s £11bn waste and recycling sector.

Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers ICE’s Waste and Resources Management Panel Phil Butler said: “Government’s commitment to a resource efficient economy that will unlock the true value of our waste is to be commended; however it is crucial that we now see these commitments translated into action.