What is waste?

What is waste?

Waste is an inevitable consequence of construction and demolition. And while the generation of some of this waste is unavoidable, there are methods for improving production, management and disposal, which will help to minimise volume and reduce the environmental impact.

Waste is defined in Article 1(1) (a) of the Waste Framework Directive (2006/12/EC) as:

'...any substance or object...which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard.'

'Holder' in this context refers to:

'...the producer of the waste or the natural or legal person who is in possession of it.'

© European Communities,

In 2011, DEFRA published UK waste statistics collected between 2004 and 2008. During the monitoring period, the construction industry generated between 86 million and 94 million tonnes of waste annually. This was between 34.8% and 35.7% of the total mass of waste produced in the UK. Further breakdown of the data shows that most of the waste generated by the construction industry was non-hazardous.

In 2012, DEFRA published its estimate of how much waste had been generated by the construction and demolition industries between 2008 and 2010. The total UK waste from both industries (including excavation waste) was estimated to range from 76 million tonnes to 95 million tonnes annually.

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