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Calculator costs of waste to landfill and potential savings

28 May 2008

A new online resource developed by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) enables construction clients, designers and contractors to reduce waste to landfill by more accurately identifying where efforts should be focused to achieve the most environmental benefit and the most substantial cost savings.

The new Net Waste Tool can be used to forecast waste arisings and identify key actions that can be taken to reduce that waste. Having targeted the main sources of waste, the Tool then helps in the development of a suitable waste segregation strategy and in maximising opportunities for waste recovery. It calculates a series of metrics and potential savings, including: cost of materials that have been wasted; cost of waste disposal; tonnages and volumes in different waste streams; diversion from landfill; carbon impact of waste reduction and recovery; and reused and recycled content.

Designed as a series of web pages, the Tool allows users to securely enter information on their project and the materials they intend to use. An analysis can then be conducted to detail both waste arising and recycled content. Finally, by determining the likely destination of each waste and the performance of the waste handler, the Tool can estimate the likely amount of waste going to landfill. It is this system of benchmarking and measuring improvement that will be of significant value to the industry as it works towards halving waste to landfill by 2012, as set out in the Government’s draft Strategy for Sustainable Construction, and the Scottish Government’s goal of zero waste.

Offering different benefits to different user groups, the Tool can be used across the whole supply chain, for example:

clients can evaluate performance against corporate targets across a portfolio of projects;
design teams can identify key sources of construction waste at an early stage, enabling waste reduction efforts to be focused on areas that will yield the most significant cost and environmental benefits; and
contractors can use the Tool to provide key elements of their SWMP (waste forecast, reduction and recovery actions, waste to landfill) using a standardised – but customisable – method and data. Contractors can also compare forecasts against actual performance and identify opportunities to improve site practices.
Dr David Moon, WRAP Programme Manager for Construction Procurement, said: “The Net Waste Tool is a powerful resource that acts as a guide from the earliest stages of design through to the construction and post-construction phases. Depending on the project size, within a couple of hours it should be possible to enter the main project parameters, get an initial approximation of the waste that is likely to be produced and an outline of your options for reducing that waste.”

Importantly, the Net Waste Tool uses the same core dataset as WRAP’s existing Recycled Content Toolkit so it is only necessary to enter project information once to conduct both analyses. The Net Waste Tool is freely accessible from the WRAP Construction website –

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