Position Statement: Site Waste Management Planning

Construction and demolition activities account for over a third of all the waste generated in Scotland. Much of this waste is made up of unused materials arising from over-ordering, or materials damaged by weather or through poor handling. Packaging used in the construction materials supply chain is also a significant source of building site waste.

The building and packaging materials that end up as waste often have high levels of embedded carbon: particularly cement, plastics and metals. Minimising materials waste at source and maximising the recycling opportunity offers the opportunity to cut the carbon impact of Scotland’s construction industry by hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 per year.

Site Waste Management Planning (SWMP) is a proven methodology for driving down wastage of construction materials. It encourages resource efficient design and maximises resource recovery and recycling through optimising on-site segregation. Good segregation is essential to prevent recoverable materials becoming contaminated to a level where recycling becomes financially impracticable.

The financial, carbon and wider environmental benefits of SWMP are well recognised by larger UK and multi-national construction companies however, uptake is lower in Scotland particularly amongst the SME building trade which, makes up the bulk of Scotland’s construction companies. Increasing uptake of SWMP offers a positive route for these businesses towards sustainable economic growth in the low-carbon economy.

Construction and demolition projects are delivered on behalf of both public and private sector clients. This buying power provides these organisations with the opportunity to leverage their influence to cut the construction sector’s carbon emissions through including contractual obligations requiring builders to apply SWMP throughout their work. As effective SWMP reduces waste disposal costs, this benefit can be achieved without the need for a ‘green premium’ on the contract cost.

The 2020 Group recognises that the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland are promoting the benefits of SWMP to construction companies and their clients alike and encourages them to continue to focus on this area until uptake is widespread amongst SME builders as well as amongst the largest construction companies.

The 2020 Group wishes to encourage Scotland’s business community to include the requirement to apply SWMP into all their construction, refurbishment and demolition contracts in order that their buying power brings about this desirable change through market forces.

Finally, the 2020 Group recommends that Scotland’s business leaders consider signing up to the ‘Half Waste to Landfill’ commitment in order to register and promote their willingness to use their buying power to influence positive change in waste and carbon reduction throughout their supply chain.

Sitemap – main pages