How The 2030 Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy Will Impact The C&D Sector

waste avoidance strategy impact the C&D sector

The Western Australian Government’s Waste Authority has released the 2030 Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy, Western Australia’s Waste Strategy.

The strategy sets out a vision for a waste-free future for Western Australia and outlines a range of actions to be taken to reduce waste, reuse resources and recover value from waste. The strategy is based on the principles of the circular economy, and aims to move away from the traditional linear model of ‘take, make, dispose of’.

Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste practices are currently under scrutiny in light of the impending 2030 Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy. The 2030 Strategy sets out specific targets for waste reduction, recycling, and resource recovery, which C&D waste practices will need to comply with. 

To meet these targets, Construction and Demolition businesses will need to implement waste management plans that minimise the amount of waste generated and maximise the recycling and recovery of C&D materials.

This may involve changing the way materials are sourced, used, and disposed of at Sites Construction and Demolition Sites. It is anticipated that these changes will result in significant reductions in C&D waste, making a significant contribution to meeting the 2030 Strategy’s ambitious targets.

Opportunities and Focus Materials

Construction and Demolition waste is a significant contributor to Western Australia’s waste stream. C&D waste includes materials such as:

  • Concrete
  • Bricks
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Timber

In Western Australia, Construction and Demolition waste makes up around half of the total waste stream and represents around 45% of material recovered for recycling. 

There are many opportunities to avoid and recover waste and protect the environment through responsible management. These opportunities exist for all materials and arise in many different situations. Even the smallest changes in behaviour at a personal level can contribute to overall improvements in waste outcomes. One way to take advantage of these opportunities is to focus on materials that are commonly wasted or that have a high environmental impact. 

C&D waste represent a significant opportunity for waste avoidance and material recovery. As a waste generator, the construction industry can avoid the amount of waste generated. For example through more efficient building processes, while waste managers can maximise the recovery of waste generated.

There are many ways in which Construction and Demolition waste can be avoided or recovered, such as reuse, recycling, and composting. By working together, the construction industry and waste management sector can make a significant difference in reducing the amount of C&D waste that ends up in a landfill.

Construction and Demolition waste is a valuable resource and can be recycled and reused in many ways. For example:

  1. Concrete can be crushed and used as aggregate in new concrete products
  2. Bricks can be cleaned and reused
  3. Metal can be recycled
  4. Glass can be crushed and used as aggregate in new pavement products 

Timber can also be recycled and used in several applications including landscaping, horticulture, and construction. By recycling C&D waste, we can reduce our reliance on virgin resources, save energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Objectives, Targets, and Strategies

C&D waste is a significant problem in Australia. Every year, millions of tonnes of Construction and Demolition waste are generated, and much of this waste ends up in a landfill. 

The 2030 Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy have outlined avoid and recover targets for C&D waste, and these targets must be met if we are to reduce the environmental impact of this waste. 

Waste avoidance strategy impact - C&D diversion rate
Source: Material recovery performance in 2015–16 and waste strategy targets for 2020, 2025, and 2030 (ASK Waste Management 2017)

The strategy outlines that there needs to be a reduction in Construction and Demolition waste generation per capita by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030. This can be achieved through a variety of measures, including reducing the amount of waste generated per construction project, increasing recycling rates, and using more recycled materials in construction projects.

The strategy also outlines that the C&D sector needs to increase a material recovery to 75% by 2020, 77% by 2025, and 80 percent by 2030. This will require a fundamental change in the way the construction and demolition industry approaches to waste, from disposal to resource recovery.