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Recycle your unwanted materials this Global Recycling Day

With Global Recycling Day arriving on March 18th, it feels fitting to cast a critical eye at the sheer volumes of materials frequently discarded on building sites and reassess our duty of care towards the planet.

From buckets of plaster and off cut timber to cans of leftover paint and tangled electrical cables, tons of valuable resources get written off per project as waste when alternative routes boost sustainability and even earn you cash!

The Benefits of Tradesman Recycling

Regenerating those mounds of unwanted construction debris makes perfect commercial and environmental sense. Just some of the perks include:

  • Cost Savings – Waste transfer and handling fees quickly add up across jobs. Reusing or recycling slashes these while generating extra income.
  • Reputation Building – Promoting green credentials earns trust as homeowners increasingly demand ethical practices.
  • Legal Compliance – Stricter council regulations means tradesmen must prove responsible waste processing. Fines quickly offset recycling profit.
  • Resource Preservation – Making new building supplies demands intensive mining, smelting, and transport energy consumption. Sustaining recyclables in use longer reduces this industrial burden
  • Carbon Footprint Reduction – Landfill waste emits greenhouse gases whereas recycling reduces fresh production emissions.

Prioritising the Quick Wins

Some construction waste types get recycled more easily. Focus on these first when you are formalising site separation:

  • Metals – Highly profitable and widely recycled. Capture this revenue source.
  • Concrete – Local crushing plants readily accept rubble for reprocessing into aggregate. Just check rules on steel mesh bits.
  • Wood – Timber merchants shred offcuts into landscaping mulch or biomass fuel. Nail studded bits may need sorting first.
  • Drywall – Plasterboard gets recycled into new products or soil improvers. Check if painted sections are accepted.
  • Cardboard and Paper – Recycling paper waste from offices or product packaging is a standardised process that most sites have established.

Get site separation smooth on inevitable stuff first, before expanding recycling processes to address trickier waste types over time as momentum builds.

Making Recycling Work For You

Follow these tips to embed sustainable principles while boosting business efficiency:

Review Site Waste

Thoroughly analyse waste from completed jobs to help identify categories generating the largest volumes and costs currently being sent for landfill. Pay attention to aggregate fee totals by material type rather than just cost per kg metrics. 

Process Planning

Work out essential material requirements for upcoming contracts, factoring in feasibility for onsite reuse of salvageable offcut metals, plastic cladding remnants or spare conduits before placing fresh orders. 

Separation Systems

Provide clearly labelled waste sorting stations complete with segregated bins or skips for distinct recyclable types like wood, metals and mixed plastics across active job sites.. Perform spot checks ensuring no cross-contaminations have occurred.

Reuse Materials Internally

Set up dedicated storage with easy site-access for offcuts of timber, pipes or fabrics. Reuse these materials for future builds rather than automatically removing materials externally for recycling.

Community Exchange

For usable things like bathroom fixtures, doors, or decor pieces that you won’t reuse, take clear photos first. Then post them discounted on online trade groups before skipping them. This helps the items find new homes instead of wasting usable stuff.

Monetary Incentives 

Pay teams bonuses when they cut total waste volumes by reusing and recycling materials onsite. Meeting monthly cost or quantity reduction goals makes recycling efforts directly financially rewarding beyond just environmental benefits. Achievable targets motivate turning waste into value.

Tradesman Talk

What obstacles do you face launching or expanding recycling schemes from your building sites? Does lack of space or time generally force waste into landfill against intentions? Are you concerned about the cost of tradesperson insurance in the UK? Or are council facilities in your area simply inadequate for tradesman requirements? Share your perspectives below!

Until next time, make sure it’s Tradesman Saver.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Tradesman Saver, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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