War on Waste: The 'Battle' to minimise waste in Construction Projects in NSW

Tuesday, 13 February 2018


Currently construction produces more than 19 million tonnes of waste, 45% of which is deposited in landfill. This results in increased energy consumption, contamination, landfill reliance and depletion of new finite resources.

To address this issue, Professor Peter Davis, Chair, Construction Management at the University of Newcastle is leading a team to challenge existing waste management strategies in construction.

The team, which includes Associate Professor Willy Sher, Associate Professor Patrick Tang and Dr Warren Reilly, has recently been awarded a $146,292.00 New South Wales (NSW) Environmental Trust Research grant. The Trust encourages projects in both the public and private sectors that will, or are likely to, prevent or reduce pollution, the waste stream or environmental degradation, of any kind, within any part of NSW.

Industry partners of the project at the present time include; Hansen Yuncken, Multiplex, Richard Crookes Constructions, Veolia Environmental Services PTY Ltd, Cross Connections Consulting, Bingo Industries, Clean Valley and Concrush.

The project team will categorise waste more effectively and identify waste quantities using three case study projects (Hansen Yuncken, Multiplex, Richard Crookes Construction). The team believes that a theoretical model for improving waste management will assist in dealing with logistics challenges and deliver tangible waste reductions.

A qualitative methodology of investigation will be employed by the team. This involves interviews, field study, analysis and interpretation followed by outlining practices and interventions to develop new strategies. This approach is supported by a research higher degree student whose scholarship is funded by the University of Newcastle Research Scholarship scheme and the NSW Environmental Trust.

When it comes to winning the war on waste, innovative approaches and strategies along with a review of current methods/processes of waste management are key to success. Finally, the victory over waste is important especially when it comes to construction, where waste has persistently undermined the sustainability of built environment projects.

The research team is committed to deliver an effective theoretical model for waste management by 2019, as well as to contribute to the sustainability of NSW construction projects.

An extended version of this article was featured in AIB's 4th issue in 2017, read it on page 16 online (PDF, 7.3MB).

NSW Government Environmental Trust