5 Ways Construction Can Reduce Its Plastic Waste

Every year, the global construction industry produces 64 million tonnes of plastic – which is the same weight as 11 Great Pyramids of Giza

Insulation Express
Plastic Sheeting Karina Tess H14pfhlfr24 Unsplash

When plastic is used in a permanent form, it can be vital as a building material. However, when the material is single-use plastic, this becomes a bigger problem, that’s wasteful and can be easily avoided. These are the most common sources of plastic waste in construction:     

  • Plastic packaging (which accounts for 25% of packaging waste in construction).
  • Unused materials from over ordering and off-cuts.
  • Improper storage and handling. 
  • Over-specified project design.
  • Workforce food packaging and utensils.

Here are five ways to reduce plastic packaging waste in construction:

  1. Talk with your supplier to see if they can reduce the packaging, or if they’re able to take back the packaging to recycle.
  2. Consider ordering in bulk or larger packs, as this will cut the volume of packaging per item.
  3. Use reusable plastic boxes to place and protect materials in. These boxes can then be returned to the supplier.
  4. Use large sheets of plastic sheeting that arrived as wrapping for use on site as weather protection.
  5. For the plastic packaging that can’t be recycled, send it to a licensed Waste Management Contractor. They are best placed to decide their destination.

    Insulation Express also uncovered innovative ways some construction companies in the UK are recycling plastic.

    Additional Resources:

    The Power of Plastic

    Can Plants Help Replace Plastics?

    Pavement Paved with Plastic

    Dow Chemical Paves Road with Plastic

    New Technology Offers Recyclable Solution for Returned Concrete

    5 Techniques for Sustainable Building Construction