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How to reduce, reuse, recycle waste from a building or renovation project.

Did you know that an estimated 50% of the waste being dumped in New Zealand’s landfills every year comes from construction and demolition jobs? That’s about 1.7 million tonnes per annum coming from our renovations and building projects.

What’s even more sobering is that a large proportion of this waste could be reduced if the project was managed properly.

If you are planning a build, demolition or renovation, there are a number of ways that you can reduce the amount of junk created. Not only is this kinder to the environment, but in many cases, much kinder to your wallet too!

Here is how you can reduce, reuse and recycle waste from your building or renovation project.

Plan ahead

Detailed planning from the get-go is essential. If you can get your measurements as accurate as possible for materials, you will avoid having to cut items down and create unusable waste with the offcuts.

Along with measurements, work with your design and building team to forecast the quantities of items you will need. Ordering excess materials hurts your wallet and is a pain to dispose of.

Take stock

Before getting stuck into any kind of demo or renovation work, do a stock take to figure out what you can reuse in the rebuild. Timber, cladding, roof tiles, windows, doors and some electrical or plumbing fixtures can potentially be refitted, refurbished and repurposed in the new build.

Even kitchen benches, baths, and cupboards can be made to look brand new with some creativity and a small investment. If you have some of these items, but they don’t fit in with your vision, you may be able to make some money selling them to salvage yards or online marketplaces like Trademe. You can even exercise your generosity by giving them away to prevent them ending up in the landfill.

Get organised

Even if you have the best intentions to recycle, reuse and reduce your waste, a building site is often chock full of workers who might not be so dedicated. Make it easier for them by having dedicated bins with clear signage for sorting the waste.

Recycle creatively

You might be surprised by the number of “rubbish” items that can actually be recycled. Obviously, native timber floors are a big seller, but even your old wool carpet can be reused as carpet backing.

Steel roofing can be reused, old concrete bricks and rubble can be repurposed for use in building roads, and even polystyrene and cardboard used for packaging can be recycled. The golden rule is, don’t write anything off as trash until you have done your research!

Choose responsible suppliers

Your life will be a whole lot easier if you partner up with businesses that are committed to eco-friendly practices. Choose products with little or no packaging (or recyclable packaging) and work with suppliers who have sustainability and waste-management certifications.

Plan for the future

Once you have reused, recycled and reduced your waste as much as possible, give some thought to the materials you choose now and how sustainable they are.

Choose products that are durable and long lasting, so they won't have to be replaced too often, and go for those that can be recycled or repurposed once they no longer serve their intended use.

Need help with a resource consent for your new development?

When building or renovating, there is a lot that needs to be done before you even pick up a hammer. If you need help with the resource consent aspects of your project, then get in touch with us here at Planning Plus -

Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.

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