The construction sector accounts for the most waste produced in France: 75% to be precise. That represents nearly 227m tons of waste per year. Such colossal figures demand action, and awareness must be raised among all teams to ensure collective efforts in helping to improve this alarming situation. Admittedly, recycling streams do exist, but waste sorting is still not practised enough, especially when it comes to renovation. To drive more functional progress today, coordination of all stakeholders around a single collaborative platform is vital, to empower them to work more effectively and avoid wasting resources. Find out more. 

Construction: a highly polluting sector 

The construction industry often comes under fire because of the pollution it generates. The sector represents: 

  • 75% of inert waste, i.e. 227m tons of waste; 

  • 23% of non-inert non-hazardous waste, i.e. 10m tons of waste; 

  • 2% of hazardous waste (e.g. asbestos); 

  • 30% of non-recycled waste. 

And yet, the construction of infrastructure is very often a necessity. So what we need to be doing is giving fresh consideration to the way we build, opting for more sustainable processes and more environmentally-friendly materials and establishing an effective recycling stream for construction products and materials.  

To combat waste production and wasteful practices, the Government has introduced Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP). Due to be rolled out in 2023, this scheme should pave the way to more waste collection points for processing waste from building sites. 

Construction and deconstruction with digital tools such as Kairnial to reduce waste production on construction sitesImproving the way building sites are run

Adopting basic good practices for generating less waste 

Pending the roll-out of the ERP scheme, construction superintendents can already adopt a series of good practices to limit waste generation on-site. Examples include reusing excavated soil, installing tips on building sites, optimising the number of truck journeys or recycling concrete.   

In addition to taking up these basic practices, teams can go even further by improving activity flows for example. The number of trucks on-site could be maximised for instance. Another solution would be to improve the flow of human and material resources. This might involve more effectively organising the building site so that the right teams and the right materials are available at the right time. For a delivery that is made at the wrong time can adversely affect both the building site and the urban environment.  

Harness digital tools to go further in terms of recycling and reducing wasteful practices 

Another solution is for teams to renovate buildings by recycling recyclable materials rather than demolishing everything and rebuilding from scratch. To achieve such results without creating extra work, teams can rely on digital tools. Digital technology is the key to producing less waste on building sites. By working out the exact amount of materials teams need, unnecessary waste can be avoided.  

Similarly, by using a reliable digital tool like Kairnial’s Equipment Management module to identify components of a renovation project that can be reused, you can avoid throwing away reusable components that fit the bill. 

Thanks to such solutions, you can more clearly identify materials that can be recycled and reduce the amount of waste generated at the same time.  

Use digital tools for recycling and waste reductionWhat about waste removal? 

Professionals can manage waste removal from the building site themselves, by locating the nearest listed facility for environmental protection (ICPE) centre or outlet, for example.  

To reduce the environmental impact of waste removal, construction stakeholders can adopt greener behaviour. Digital solutions can help professionals to optimise truck journeys so that trucks do not travel empty. 

Better waste recovery contributes to a circular economy (link to Factor in the circular economy when renovating buildings), with all its economic and environmental interests. The fact is that lots of professionals consider waste management to be complex and time-consuming. So the good news is that leveraging digital solutions or anticipating management at all these stages before even getting started are excellent alternatives in order to enhance working methods

Waste in the construction sector: everything you need to know

How can waste production be reduced in the construction sector? 

While there are already some solutions for reducing waste production on building sites (installing tips, soil removal, etc.), these still do not go far enough. Today, it has become essential to work with digital tools for fully effective waste management on-site. Applying the main principles of the circular economy is another way to significantly cut down on the amount of waste generated on sites.

What are the national targets in terms of waste management on building sites? 

France has set a target of 70% waste recovery in the construction sector by 2023. This will be achieved through: 

  • prevention; 
  • re-use of materials; 
  • recycling and processing of materials; 
  • energy recovery; 
  • landfill as a last resort.