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Campaign for eco-friendly practice in construction launched

Considerate Constructors Scheme's survey reveals the sector's shocking use of plastics and packaging

Posted by Julian Owen | March 01, 2019 | Sustainability

The Considerate Constructors Scheme has launched its industry-wide campaign, Spotlight on… Plastics and Packaging, to raise awareness and showcase best practice in how the construction industry can reduce, reuse and recycle plastics and packaging.

The launch of the campaign - which features on the industry’s best practice hub - comes in response to startling findings from the scheme’s survey of over 900 people working within the UK and Irish construction industries.

It discovered that, although over 95% of respondents said the industry needs to be doing something to reduce its consumption of plastics and packaging, more than half of respondents (51%) have little understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding plastics and packaging, and only 44% know how to recycle different plastic and packaging materials.

The survey also revealed that:

 - 98% said the over-consumption of plastics and packaging is a global issue

 - 92% believe plastics and packaging are extremely dangerous to the environment

 - 81% said the construction industry is not doing enough to reduce its consumption of plastics and packaging

 - 31% said they frequently use plastics and packaging that cannot be reused or recycled

With the construction industry being the second largest consumer of plastics in the UK, it is imperative that the construction industry reconsiders the way it consumes and disposes of plastics and packaging to protect the environment and all life. 

The scheme is calling on all construction sites, companies, suppliers and clients of construction projects to drastically reduce their consumption of plastics and packaging. Not only does this offer significant improvements for the environment and society as a whole, it also makes commercial sense, with many organisations reporting significant cost savings achieved.

Spotlight on… Plastics and Packaging provides a suite of resources to help the industry to address the issue. It includes a range of practical case studies and guidance from contractors, clients, and service suppliers, including: AMA Waste Management; Aztec; Balfour Beatty; Crossrail; the Environment Agency; Griffiths; Knight Build; Protec; Right Waste Right Place; Mace; Morgan Sindall; Multiplex; Skanska; Sir Robert McAlpine; and Wates and Ward.

While considerable progress is being made it is clear that a concerted effort to raise further awareness, and to provide the necessary support, is needed

Considerate Constructors Scheme chief executive, Edward Hardy, said: “As construction is the second largest consumer of plastic in the UK, our industry has one of the greatest responsibilities to society, and to the environment, to ensure that we are working tirelessly to improve our standards in minimising waste from plastics. 

“The Spotlight on… Plastics and Packaging campaign provides resources, practical support, and guidance, helping everyone to take effective measures to tackle this issue. While considerable progress is being made – with over 76% of scheme-registered construction sites setting targets to reduce, reuse and recycle waste – it is clear that a concerted effort to raise further awareness, and to provide the necessary support, is needed to achieve this drastic reduction in waste from plastics and packaging.” 

Spotlight on… Plastics and Packaging follows a number of successful industry campaigns which the scheme hosts on the best practice hub. In 2018, the scheme launched the Spotlight on… Air Pollution and Spotlight on… the Next Generation, with follow-on e-learning courses in each topic. These campaigns have received over 48,000 views to date, with more 50,000 courses being taken.

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