Managing Waste On Construction Sites: Are There Rules You Should Adhere To?

Many of us do not know that the construction industry generates more waste than we think. The pile of rubble and debris left after a demolition project is just one type of waste from construction sites. As such, the construction industry has become one of the significant contributors to waste in developed and developing countries. In the US alone, the EPA reported at least 600 tons of demolition and construction debris. Due to the alarming data collected from construction wastes, countries have each set their laws, policies, and agreements with local and international construction industries to minimize construction debris and wastes. Read more to know about some rules, guidelines, and regulations about construction waste management.

Managing Waste On Construction Sites: Are There Rules You Should Adhere To?

Defining Construction Waste Management

Before touching on the rules of managing waste on construction sites, it is essential to have an overview of what construction waste management is about. The specific definition of waste management of construction waste may vary from country to country, but there is general agreement that it is the coordinated effort between the construction industry, private companies, and government agencies in reducing landfill waste by diverting construction, land-clearing, and demolition towards Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle efforts. A valuable insight shared from is the effectiveness of waste removal, and management efforts in Australia through the services of skip bin hire companies. These companies not only function as waste disposal service providers but also as additional layers of implementing construction waste management efforts. They coordinate with construction owners if the materials that are about to be disposed of are hazardous, inert, or are remnants of reducing, reusing, and recycling efforts. They are also knowledgeable of the construction waste management provisions and will remind construction industry clients to implement their waste management plans before setting aside debris and other materials for landfill disposal.

Rules In Place By Country

As mentioned earlier, different countries have different regulations and approaches to solving or combating the accumulation of construction waste. Their laws and provisions are specifically targeted to the communities, economic situation, waste disposal status, and other distinct situations and conditions within their respective countries.

United States

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) has been in place in the United States since 1976 and covers a wide variety of programs concerning waste management, including construction waste and hazardous waste. As per the provisions of this act, hazardous waste is a subset of solid waste that presents a serious human health risk and environmental harm when mismanaged. Some components of construction and demolition debris are categorized as RCRA hazardous wastes and must be processed to meet the regulatory management for waste categorized as “hazardous.” 


The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) is an essential element of the legislative framework for protecting the country’s environment and the health of its citizens. The power to protect the environment is vested in each level of government, which effectively distributes the implementation of environmental laws, including the management of construction waste. Municipal governments are responsible for waste collection, diversion, and disposal operations, while the provinces and territories are responsible for the approval, licensing, and monitoring of these operations.

The United Kingdom

The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 is a legal requirement enforced in the United Kingdom for businesses to control their waste. It applies to businesses and companies that produce, keeps or store, carry or transport, import or export, treat, or dispose of waste. Companies that fall under this category (including construction companies) are legally required to manage and minimize waste using the waste management hierarchy. These businesses need to reduce, reuse, and recycle their waste before disposing of what’s left in landfills.


Australia’s National Waste Policy provides a national framework of cooperation between the government, businesses, communities, and individuals for waste and resource recovery. It outlines the roles and responsibilities and guides the collaboration of all Australian governments, businesses, and industries. It empowers all members of the Australian society to contribute solutions for managing wastes and resources and promotes the implementation of tailored waste management programs in response to local and regional situations.

Benefits of Proper Waste Management

There is waste at different stages of the construction process. Waste is produced as a byproduct at the budgeting and procurement stage, building stage, or demolition stage. As such, businesses and construction firms need to understand the importance of maximizing the use of finite resources. Listed below are some benefits companies can gain from properly managing construction waste.

  • Compliance – adhering to applicable laws or policies regarding waste disposal and management helps businesses operate smoothly by avoiding hefty fines or sanctions resulting from non-adherence to any waste management provision.
  • Reduced Costs and Expenditures – reusing and recycling construction can help reduce operational costs and expenditures for construction companies and businesses. Damaged, excess, and scrap materials that are intact can be reused, recycled, or sold and reduce the need for buying new materials and transporting large amounts of wastes to landfills.
  • Improved Health and Safety Standards – proper waste handling, segregation, and storage can help protect workers and the public from hazards and accidents. 
  • Redefined Corporate Social Responsibility – waste management helps give new meaning to how companies give back to the community. It is not just through providing contributions to noble causes and charities that companies can help the communities around them. Conserving natural resources and minimizing energy use through proper waste management is another way businesses help protect the environment and affected communities.
  • Improved Business Reputation – consistently implementing proper waste management can give customers and clients assurance that your business is reliable and trustworthy, which helps build its reputation. It also helps businesses gain funding from the government and opportunities for collaboration in government-funded projects.

The ones listed above are just a few of the attractive benefits businesses can gain with proper construction waste management. In the long-term, your business will grow more productive, sustainable, cost-efficient, and safe.

Managing Waste On Construction Sites: Are There Rules You Should Adhere To?

There are many ways that the construction industry can contribute to reducing environmental impact and landfill demands. Reducing, reusing, and recycling construction waste significantly reduces its quantity before it finally gets disposed of. Without regulations for waste management and the commitment of construction professionals and industries, long-term benefits for businesses, the environment, and society are unachievable. Commitment, consistency, and creativity are essential qualities that can improve and sustain the design and construction industry while also aligning itself with the environmental goals of the government and the community.

Thank you for reading!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments