The popular “3Rs” of waste management, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, have been the emphasis of many environmentalists worldwide. Generally speaking, the 3Rs offer a guide to developing a sustainable process to managing waste. Currently, recycling is the more popular term of the three. However, it is mostly capital intensive and minimised by Reducing and Reusing.
Reducing wastage in the building industry mainly occurs during the construction stage. Since construction materials come in standard sizes, following the recommended dimensions will greatly reduce wastage. The discarded excess materials like wood, tiles and iron rods account for most of all waste on a construction site.
Reusing waste materials gives you the biggest opportunity to go green. You can reuse materials such as wood floors, doors, windows, bricks, tiles and carpet, pipes, fixtures, and roofing materials.
Recycling is the last option. It is quite costly especially if the recycling plant is not located near the construction site. Moreover, we cannot recycle all materials.
To reduce wastage, you have to consciously reduce the material that you process by purchasing exactly what you need. In the construction space, reduction means using the right amount of materials right from the design stage. In particular, we should only consume what we need, avoid pointless purchases and share seldom-used items. To lower the need for frequent purchases, adopt regular maintenance as it extends the lifecycle of a product.
As a rule, waste should never be seen as an end in itself if it can be reused for the same or a different purpose. Moreover, the unused and salvaged materials can be returned, donated or sold rather than purchasing new materials.
Instead of throwing away waste materials, turn them into new products or substances by way of recycling. The construction industry is notorious for using large amounts of materials. Some of the materials that you can recycle include bricks and blocks, floor and wall coverings, glass and insulation, plasterboard and gypsum, plastic and tiles.
For example, we can use damaged bricks and blocks to make aggregate for land refill. In addition, waste materials can be used to make animal bedding and to manufacture beads. The benefits of recycling include a reduction in carbon emissions, conservation of natural resources, reduced pollution and the creation of job opportunities.
Using the 3Rs will reduce waste and maximise the use of material resources. By adopting these methods, you reduce your costs by purchasing fewer materials, comply with regulations and reduce carbon emissions. You also help in conserving natural resources while generating income from the collected materials.