Tasmania’s construction and demolition industry is facing a big opportunity to reinforce the state’s ‘clean green’ reputation and increase the amount of resources recovered from the 44,000 tonnes of waste generated by the sector each year.
The industry’s performance in resource recovery is the lowest in Australia with only 1% of construction and demolition waste currently recycled or reused in Tasmania, a rate 63% below the national average.
It’s a situation Tasmania’s three regional waste management groups are working to improve.
Chairman of the Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Group, Shane Eberhardt said that improvements in recovery rates would not only reduce pressure on landfills and the environment but could also deliver financial benefits to Tasmanian industries willing to act on the growing national and international interest in circular economies.
“Businesses that change on-site work practices and purchasing procedures with the goal of reducing waste can find that they also reduce business operating costs or generate new sources of income,” Shane said.
Tasmania’s distance to mainland markets and processing facilities and the relatively under-developed local resource recovery industry contribute to Tasmania’s national standing, but Shane noted that there was still much that could be done today to improve the situation.
“Salvaging materials, using off-cuts, choosing materials that don’t require pre- or post-treatment and designing with waste in mind are all steps that can be built in to business operations.”
“Industry associations and local business networks can also assist by connecting businesses where the by-products of one could be the input stock for another,” said Shane.
“It’s also relatively quick to find online information on product take-back programs. Take advantage of programs that accept unwanted materials including plasterboard, paint and pallets. It’s clearly not sustainable to have resources that still hold value ending up in landfill.”
Waste Strategy South and the Cradle Coast and Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Groups have collaborated to publish two reference guides to help improve resource recovery in the construction and demolition and commercial and industrial sectors.
The free guides are accessible from the ‘At Work’ page and outline how businesses can identify and improve their capacity to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle what may otherwise be considered as waste.