Our procurement of goods, materials and services inevitably leads to the creation of waste; both in the installation of newly-procured materials and the removal of existing materials.
In 2008 we stated our ambition of sending zero waste to landfill - and we remain committed to this. However, we know that our ultimate goal should be to reduce the amount of waste we produce in the first place. So in 2013 we increased our emphasis on reduction by focussing on how construction waste can be minimised at the design stage of a project.
While our 2013 landfill diversion rate of 93% may seem like a step backwards from 2012's rate of 95%, a truer picture is given by the proportion of waste we produced per £100k of project value which, in 2013, decreased by 25% compared with 2012.
We aim to manage waste on our sites in the most efficient way by encouraging re-use and recycling on-site, maximising segregation and ensuring we are working with waste contractors with the highest diversion from landfill rates.
Our Environmental Data System allows us to identify waste streams that are still difficult to divert from landfill, and we are working with a number of manufacturers to trial and implement takeback schemes for these materials.
We work with product suppliers to apply the waste hierarchy to the management of waste materials and encourage re-use ahead of recycling and recovery, for example making use of discarded furniture and the repair and repatriation of pallets.
These initiatives are improving our management of waste and increasing diversion from landfill, as well as helping us reduce costs.
We recognise the need to ‘close the loop’ by specifying materials with higher recycled content, thereby helping to create markets for the materials we and others are recycling.
This will help to reduce the quantities of material sent to landfill and use of virgin materials. The take-back schemes we are developing with manufacturers – in addition to improving diversion from landfill – also promote closed-loop recycling, thus increasing the recycled content of their materials.
Our Sustainable Procurement Policy strengthens our aims in this area, and we encourage and incentivise projects to increase the recycled content of materials procured through our 10-Point Sustainable Project Criteria.
We provided a central composting facility where residents can make their own compost, reducing the amount of waste sent away from site.
Based on official measurements, residents should see their energy bills cut by half, as well as enjoy other features including;
· a rain water recycling system which could reduce water consumption by up to 80 litres per day – half the current national average water consumption
· allotments and a mini orchard
· active heating controls which use rain water collected in an underground tank to cool the building when it gets too hot
We have site waste champions to promote best practice and report waste data on the Environmental Data System.
Our Environmental Managers regularly visit sites to audit operations and ensure procedures minimise the environmental impact of operations. They also review their site’s energy and waste data.
Reducing Everyday Waste
We know that homeowners may not be familiar with the environmental and sustainability features of their new home when moving in. In order to encourage them to get the best sustainability performance out of their homes, we provide them with a home user guide.
All our guides cover the following areas:
· Energy efficient features of the new home
· How to save energy
· Water efficient fittings
· Renewable energy sources
· Low energy white goods
· Recycling units within the home and composting facilities on site
· Fire detectors
· Sustainability and DIY
· Local services/links and amenities
· Public transport