Rationale for waste prediction

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Due to the diverse nature of the construction industry it is not possible to generalise on the types and quantities of waste materials found on individual sites. If responsible processing of waste is to take place at local level, detailed information on the types and quantities of waste expected will be required. With this information it would be possible to plan disposal strategies, both at an individual level and by combination with other organisations with similar information at a regional or even national level.

This Illustrates one further piece of information which will be required for economic disposal strategies to be developed, namely the rate of occurrence. Conventionally, the costs associated with establishing material recycling plants require that a minimum volume of material be available for economic operation. Furthermore, this volume should arrive for recycling at a steady supply rate (4)

Most construction sites, other than the very largest, will be unable to achieve this supply rate and, therefore, it will be important for several sites to combine their outputs to achieve economic levels. Another factor operating for individual sites is that waste output follows construction activity when both quantity and type of waste will vary throughout the life of a project.

If contractors require recycling agencies to accommodate fluctuating quantities of varying waste types, unit costs are likely to be high. In practice this will probably mean recycling technology will not be available, as sufficient market volume cannot be identified.

Having the waste production data prepared, however, contractors can then enter negotiations with waste disposal agencies fully aware of what waste will be produced and when. Whilst the need for this type of information is self evident, it should also be readily available through contract documentation. The construction industry already has much of the information required but it is not, as yet, co-ordinated.

Detailed information on material types and quantities already exist for each site in the form of specifications, estimates, work-plans and programmes, primarily for the purpose of efficiently incorporating these materials into the building. Waste allowances are commonly used during the estimating process to cater for expected waste. Thus, having established expected waste types and quantities it only remains to establish the rate of supply.

The vast majority of construction projects run against a known time scale (project programme) with known activities consuming known materials at given points in time. By combining pre-determined consumption rates and predicting waste quantity, it should be possible to calculate expected waste levels. These can be then placed against the project time scale to predict the supply rate of each type of material.


The objective of constructing a waste prediction model is to provide a means of establishing the waste output of a site in terms of material type and supply rate. If widespread adoption of such a system is to take place it must utilise readily available data and, in the first instance, the model will be constructed using contract documentation.

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