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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

David Turner (BSc) Waste Management Practices in the small-scale construction industry

The environmental impacts of the construction industry can be reduced through sustainable waste management (SWM).

A substantial proportion of the responsibility for improving waste management practices in the construction industry falls on small-scale construction (SSC) firms operating on projects valued under £300,000. Through on-site waste audits and a postal questionnaire survey of SSC firms, David investigated key factors that affect waste generation on SSC sites. The study found a deep-rooted wasteful culture within the SSC industry. Soil and stones, wood and plastic were the major components of the waste stream. It is perceived that a considerable proportion of waste generated is unavoidable because of current working practices. SWM activities were undertaken infrequently by the majority of respondents, with the main reason being a commonly-held perception that SWM is not cost-effective. Considerable scope exists for improving waste management practices on SSC sites, with the most promising measures identified as being the introduction of stock control measures and the use of skips for segregation of specific materials.

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