Current Knowledge Of Waste Streams

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Section 2 identifies the more common materials that can be found in the construction-waste stream, and in Tables 2.3 to 2.7 a cautious attempt is made to estimate the approximate quantities of each material arising per annum. However, this estimate also takes account of demolition material, and is not specific to construction projects.

Studies have been undertaken to determine the composition of waste arisings on construction sites. For example a research project is currently being carried out by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), part funded by the DoE. The preliminary results of the study are shown in Table 4.1. The results have be'en derived by roughly estimating the volumes of each waste material type in skips, and are biased towards the housing/refurbishment sector.

There has also been notable attempt in Norway, by the Norwegian Institute of Technology, to audit construction site waste (Table 4.2), but unfortunately some 60% of the 'waste' is not properly identified and is simply categorised as 'tails'.

Table 4.1 Preliminary results of the CIOB research project (1994)

Material

Percentage by volume

Hard Materials

38%

Copper and lead

0%

Coated ferrous/non-ferrous metals

39%

Timber

28%

Gypsum materials

4%

Plastics

9%

Soil

2 to 16%

Other

less than 5%

Table 4.2 Results of a survey on the salvage and return of construction waste to manufacturers by the Norwegian Institute of Technology (August 1993 - May 1994)

Fraction

Weight (tons)

Share (%)

Iron/metal

2.7

2.5

Wood

15.4

14.2

Cardboard/paper

3.0

2.8

Mineral wool

0.7

0.6

Plasterboard

6.1

5.6

Floor covering

0.3

0.3

Concrete, bricks, ctc

11.0

10.2

Tails

69.0

63.8

Total

108.2

100.0

These studies do not provide sufficient information to address the problem fully. Research efforts should concentrate on what can be done with wastes arising on construction sites (profitably, if at all possible), as well as analysing where it comes from so as to establish waste minimisation and recycling programmes.

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