Plastic minimisation in construction: A pilot study identifying and quantifying the composition of C&D plastic in construction waste

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Kestle, Linda
Hernandez, Herman
Berry, Terri-Ann
Low, Joanne
Wallis, Shannon
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Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
construction industry
waste reduction
Kestle, L., Hernandez, G., Berry, T-A., Low, J., & Wallis, S. (2021). Plastic Minimisation in Construction: A Pilot Study identifying and quantifying the composition of C&D plastic in construction waste. In Imriyas Karmadeen & Anthony Mills (Ed.), AUBEA 2021- 27-29 October 2021 (pp. 316-325).
Construction and demolition (C&D) waste contributes at least 10,000 tonnes of plastic to landfills in Auckland annually. The growing use of plastic in the packaging of building materials, the use of polystyrene and products such as building wrap are contributing to this landfill stream. Most construction waste is not sorted on construction sites, with C&D waste often being co-mingled. This funded research is an exploratory study being undertaken as a pilot project over 12-18 months by academics with three industry partners (a commercial construction company (Naylor Love), a leading building materials’ supplier (Mitre 10), and a large recycling company (Green Gorilla), to undertake a comprehensive waste audit analysis of plastic waste, and workplace incentivisation for source separation of waste. The research grant was awarded to Unitec Institute of Technology by the Auckland City Council in December 2019. To date, the research team (principal investigator assisted by another senior researcher and two research assistants, a plastics technician, and an industrial chemist), has audited and recently analysed the first of two rounds of the plastics’ recycling bags that were located at three of the construction company’s project sites. Mitre 10 and Green Gorilla are providing the research project with statistical data related to the products being supplied and recycled to and from the three project sites. The main aim of the collaborative pilot research project was to investigate how to identify and quantify the composition of C&D plastic in construction waste going to landfill. As the pilot research project concludes later in 2021, the results to date are preliminary, yet positive. The findings demonstrate the value-added results of this collaborative academic and industry partnership, and the commitment to making a real difference that Naylor Love, and Mitre10 in particular have achieved, for minimising plastic and plastic wastes on their projects, and influencing clients customers and other players in the construction industry.
Australasian Universities Building Education Association (AUBEA)
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