Construction Waste Management

Business Waste Collection Bins

What is construction waste?

Construction waste consists of unwanted material created by the construction and demolition industries. It is impossible for a construction site to operate without producing any waste but it is possible to limit the amount that ends up in landfill. All companies are legally required to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE before disposal.

Over the past 10 years 330,000 new homes have been built in the UK so it is not surprising that the construction industry uses 400 million tonnes of natural resources each year. 100 million tonnes of waste is produced, however, it is estimated that 93% of that is recovered and used again. This guide reinforces the strategies used to maintain these high standards of construction waste management.

All businesses owe a duty of care to handle their waste properly. This is enforced by the Environmental agency and failure to do so may result in a hefty fine, and can damage your company’s reputation.

Construction Waste Management

Why should we take construction waste management seriously?

Construction waste increases the burden on landfill sites which are becoming increasingly scarce, and if waste is not managed correctly hazardous substances can cause soil and water pollution. It is crucial for construction companies to manage their waste responsibly in order to conserve the planets natural resources and minimise damage to the environment.

What are the benefits of construction waste management?

    • Compliance. The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, requires business’ to minimise waste using the waste management hierarchy. It is also a legal requirement to complete a waste transfer note for each load of waste that leaves your premises.

    • Lower expenditure. Spending will be reduced by reusing materials that have been saved from previous projects and you won’t be paying removal costs. On the 1st of April 2020 landfill tax was increased by HM revenue and customs to £94.14 per tonne for standard waste and £3 per tonne for lower rated (inert) waste.

    • Health and safety. Careful waste storage minimises possible hazards and accidents.

    • Corporate environmental responsibility. It is important to limit the amount of waste generated and how much goes into landfill. Reducing, reusing and recycling puts less strain on natural resources.

    • Positive reputation. Running an environmentally responsible construction site is becoming increasingly important. Demonstrating a commitment to the environment helps to build a positive reputation within your community. Keeping good standards of waste management can also help you to gain funding from the government.

    • Progressive work ethic. Employees who use responsible waste management practices may feel obliged to do the same at home and it will also reflect on how they conduct themselves in future employment.

Construction waste recycling

How can we reduce our construction waste?

Construction companies are legally required to manage their waste following the waste management hierarchy. This is where we reduce, reuse and recycle before we dispose of our waste.


The first step in cutting the amount that ends up in landfill is to reduce the quantity that is produced in the first place. This requires careful planning. Here are some suggestions:

• Improve procurement practices by avoiding over-ordering or ordering errors.
• Don’t remove the plastic packaging from the materials until you are sure they will be used.
• Reduce offcuts by using materials in standard sizes and quantities.
• Order materials so that they arrive on site to match construction schedules. This reduces the possibility of them being damaged during storage.
• At the end of each project, review the amount of waste generated and adjust future project acquisition accordingly.


Any surplus items or material salvaged from demolition needs to be stored properly, in a secure, weatherproof area. This ensures they will be in good condition when it is time to reuse them on future projects. It is also possible to sell on building materials via second hand forums such as gumtree, ebay or facebook marketplace.

The most common reused materials are as follows

• Bricks and tiles (damaged items can be crushed)
• Inert materials (concrete, soils, stones asphalt)
• Timber
• Paint
• Plasterboard
• Packaging


Recycling is essential to reduce the waste that ends up in landfill.

Common recyclable material and their uses are as follows:

Wood. This can be reused to make landscaping pellets, garden mulch, chipboard, animal bedding and fuel.
• Inert materials such as bricks, concrete, soil, stones etc. can be crushed to make aggregate material such as concrete or asphalt
• Plasterboard can be reprocessed to make new plasterboard
Metal can be recycled to produce new metal. This uses less energy than producing metals from scratch
Cardboard and paper can be reconstituted or shredded to make insulation and animal bedding
• Certain plastics can be recycled to produce new plastic
• Crushed glass (cullet) can be reconstituted or used in aggregate, concrete and insulation.

You can also look into recycling schemes available for construction site materials and talk to the manufacturers to see if they have their own return and recycle schemes.

Why do I need to complete a construction waste audit?

A waste audit can assist you to determine the amount of waste that is generated and how to reduce it. Business Waste can provide a full site audit carried out by experienced industry professionals on your behalf. Your audit should do the following:

    • Sort waste into categories
    • Record the quantity of waste in each category
    • Look at the type and amount of waste generated throughout the different stages of the project
    • Conclude and analyse the results

Whats is a construction site waste management plan (swmp)?

A Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) can then be drawn up. Companies are no longer legally required to draw up a SWMP, but it is considered to be good policy.

A detailed SWMP can help to reduce on-site waste by up to 15%, it increases efficiency and saves money in the long run. At Business Waste we are committed to working with you to develop a plan tailored to your specific requirements. Your SWMP should contain the following:

    • The contractor responsible for implementing the plan on site.
    • Suggestions of how to prevent waste at the ordering stage
    • A list of expected waste types together with their EWC codes.
    • Details of how the waste will be reused or recycled throughout the project.
    • Details of the licensed waste carrier and how much waste you expect them to remove.
    • Estimated savings achieved due to using the SWMP

Construction Waste

What are the different types of construction waste?

The construction industry produces various types of waste:

Inert Waste includes material such as concrete, asphalt, bricks, stones, and soil. It makes up the majority of construction, demolition, and excavation waste. It is neither chemically nor biologically reactive and will not decompose.

Non-Hazardous waste is any waste that does not cause harm to others or to the environment. This includes plastic, glass and metal.

Hazardous waste items such as asbestos fall under other the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, the COSHH Regulations, and the Control of Lead at Work Regulations (2002) and require specialised handling.

Understanding waste types allows you to separate and correctly label what is left so that they it can be removed safely and legally.

The most common types of construction and demolition waste are listed below together with their EWC codes.

Paints and varnishes
08-01-11 to 08-01-11

Adhesives and sealants
08-04-09 to 08-04-10

Packaging waste
15-01-02 to 15-01-10

Concrete, bricks tiles and ceramics
17-01-01 to 1710-03

Wood, glass and plastic
17-02-01 to 17-02-04

Bituminous mixtures, coal and tar
17-03-01 to 17-03-03

Metalic waste, including cable
17-04-01 to 17-04-11

Soil, contaminated soil, stones and dredging soil
17-05-03 to 17-05-06

Insulation and asbestos materials
17-06-01 to 17-06-13

17-08-01 to 17-08-02

Cement (wet)

Construction waste disposal

How do you dispose of construction waste?

If your construction waste can’t be reduced or reused, or recycled yourself then your only option is to dispose of it in skips. Non-hazardous, hazardous and recyclable materials all need to be disposed of in separate skips. It is a legal requirement that each load waste moved off premises, a waste transfer note must be provided.

The waste transfer note must include:

    • The waste classification code
    • Whether it’s hazardous or not.
    • The type of premises or business where the waste was produced.
    • The name of the substance or substances.
    • The process that produced the waste.
    • A chemical and physical analysis and its components
    • Any special problems, requirements, or knowledge related to the waste.

A waste transfer note will be provided for free by The construction company and the waste management company both need to keep a signed copy of the waste transfer note for 2 years.

Construction waste skips

Skips should be located in an easily accessible, safe place on site with appropriate signage. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs to be provided and worn to minimise risks.

Skips come in the following sizes:

Small Builders’ Skip
6 cubic yards/10 x 4 x 4 feet.

Large Builders’ Skip
8 cubic yards/12 x 6 x 4 feet.

Large Maxi Skip
12 cubic yards/13 x 6 x 6 feet.
(no soil and bricks)

Using a reputable, licensed, waste disposal company is imperative. It is the responsibility of the construction company to check the waste management company is properly licensed. If they disposed of your waste at an unofficial site you may be legally obliged to pay the Landfill Tax. A permit is also required if the skip is situated on public land.

The construction industry contributes to more than one-third of the UK’s annual total waste and has a responsibility to lead the way in waste management for other sectors. Business Waste covers all aspects of your construction waste needs. We offer free expert advice on current legislation, complete waste audits, waste management plans, and recycling and disposal of all types of waste. At Business Waste we consider waste management to be an ongoing process, not just a result.

We are committed to reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill. We help businesses to organise their waste management and recycle as much of their waste as possible. Plastics, concrete, wood and certain public fill can all be recycled. We can provide every business with a unique waste audit, making the process of separating recyclable construction waste hassle-free.

Recycling your construction waste is not only eco-friendly but it can also save your business money by reducing how much waste is sent to landfill.

Construction Waste Disposal

It is a criminal offence to dump hazardous construction waste. Hazardous construction waste like asbestos and electrical wiring must be collected and disposed of in a safe and secure manner, to ensure that human health, animals and the environment are not put at unnecessary risk.

Our qualified waste removalists are experienced in handling the different types of construction waste and can provide your business with a reliable and efficient waste collection service.

No matter where your business is based, we have a team of specialist waste removalists who operate across the whole of the UK. Our collection service can operate daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on the requirements of your business. We provide a flexible service to provide clients with the peace of mind that their construction waste is being collected on time, safely and securely.

For further information and advice on construction waste collection for your business, contact our professional waste advisors today for a free quote on 0800 211 8390.

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