Issue 17
Monday, 26 September 2016
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Dr Deepika Mathur: “Bricks and concrete comprise the two biggest waste products on demolition sites”
Dr Deepika Mathur: “Bricks and concrete comprise the two biggest waste products on demolition sites”

Report shows ways to reduce builders’ waste

By Patrick Nelson

A new fee structure and a rethink about better ways to spread information are among the recommendations in a Charles Darwin University report into construction waste in Alice Springs.

Co-author Dr Deepika Mathur from CDU’s Northern Institute said the report investigated the waste streams from the construction industry, and sought to identify challenges in recycling and reusing waste. 

“We found that builders were willing to put effort into recycling, particularly where it was practical for them to do so and where there was a clear cost benefit,” Dr Mathur said.

“For metals, where the recycling options were clear and the incentive was evident, the builders willingly separated the material for recovery.

“But there was reluctance to participate in the case of other materials where information about recycling options was unclear or difficult to access.”

Dr Mathur said that the Alice Springs Town Council’s website was the primary channel for disseminating information to builders about waste disposal options.

“Our survey showed that building contractors are time-poor and some were not proficient with the internet. It might be worth investing in finding other ways of getting this information out to the various businesses.”

Dr Mathur said that the construction waste generated in Alice Springs was about 40 per cent of the total waste generated, similar to construction waste figures at the national level. 

“Bricks and concrete comprise the two biggest waste products on demolitions sites.”

Dr Mathur said further research on reducing waste generation at source was required. 

“If we knew the quantities in each waste stream we could determine whether there is a critical mass for either processing them in Alice Springs or for sending them interstate for reprocessing.

“We need to identify more options for recycling and reusing construction and demolition waste if we want to reduce waste to landfill.”