1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003
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The WasteWise Construction Program
Australians currently send approximately one tonne of waste per person per year to landfill. Construction and demolition (C&D) wastes can make up to 40% of this waste.
C&D wastes are potentially valuable recoverable resources being wasted. Materials include metals, concrete and bricks, glass, fittings and fixtures from demolished or refurbished buildings, wood and wall panelling.
In 1995 the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) approached five major Australian construction companies to pioneer best practice waste reduction in the industry in an effort to reduce the amount of C&D waste going to landfill. ANZECC negotiated a voluntary industry waste reduction agreement incorporating waste reduction and recycling targets, known as the WasteWise Construction Program.
Phase I of the program
Waste management is the responsibility of state and territory governments. WasteWise was established to assist the Commonwealth establish and promote a cohesive national approach to waste reduction. The $5m Waste Management Awareness Program is administered by Environment Australia under the Natural Heritage Trust.
Through WasteWise, participating construction companies conducted the first detailed assessment of waste reduction opportunities from supply through to production and recycling.
The original WasteWise Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) stated:
'It is a national program to encourage best practice approaches to waste minimising construction and demolition waste.
A best practice approach to environmental management can protect the environment, save resources; avoid waste, increase reuse and recycling of materials, and reduce the amount of waste going into landfill.
The application of waste minimisation principles to project operations will facilitate the contribution of the construction and demolition industry to the national waste reduction target.'
Five leading construction companies signed up for Phase 1 (November 1995-98), and funded their own participation in order to adopt a best practice approach to environmental management. They all achieved significant waste reduction within the bounds of normal commercial imperatives, and found that waste reduction could be increased by:
A review of the program was undertaken in 1997 and published in the WasteWise Construction Program Review, which details the individual successes of the five partners.
Subsequently, the WasteWise Handbook (1998) became a 'how to' booklet with examples and company achievements and procedures from their waste reduction manuals. Both of these publications informed the development of the Waste Reduction Guidelines (2000), which provided organisational tools for adoption.
Phase II of the program
Phase II commenced in late 1998, running until the end of 2001. The intention was to widen participation in best practice waste minimisation to other scales of construction and other industry members. While the new MoU had a common statement of commitment for all participants, separate schedules for industry sub-sectors identified their waste roles and responsibilities. The industry sub-sectors were invited to participate, included:
Fourteen leading companies and peak industry organisations committed themselves to the Phase II WasteWise Construction Program by signing the MoU.
Highlights of the WasteWise Construction Program 1995-2001
For the participating organisations the WasteWise program has successfully decreased the amount of waste going to landfill, sometimes by more than 90%. While the individual performance of WasteWise partners varied from year to year and from project to project, some of the highlights are summarised below:
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