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This week it is the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR); an initiative aiming to raise awareness regarding sustainable resourcing and waste management within private and public sectors as well as the general public.

One of the core messages of the EWWR awareness week are the “3Rs” – reduce, reuse and recycle. These actions for managing waste link closely to the waste hierarchy and its guidance for minimising material waste.

waste hierarchy

The Waste Hierarchy; prevention being the best and disposal the worst means of waste management.

The large amount of waste material produced by the construction industry damages profit margins; the waste hierarchy helps identify actions to improve resource efficiency by ranking waste management options.

On being formalised into European Union and Member State waste legislation in 2008/2010, understanding and applying the waste hierarchy has become an important element of materials resource efficiency. Not only does it promote means to be more resource efficient but it provides guidance on how to improve on current measures.

To best apply and move up the waste hierarchy organisations need to establish a number of things, including:

  • Where is waste being produced?
  • What is the cause of this and is it avoidable?
  • If not avoidable, what opportunities are there for this material to be used internally, or by another business through recycling or refurbishing?
  • Can improvements be made to the way waste is currently handled?

waste hierarchy infographic

By addressing such questions and finding solutions, not only are better environmental practices being sought out – but financial savings are also being made.

One of the best ways to apply these questions to a business is through the collection and examination of waste data produced by software tools such as SmartWaste. Clear and concise analysis of material and energy data allows for easy establishment of areas of improvement, thus providing the knowledge needed for moving up the waste hierarchy.

For more information about EWWR and the ‘3Rs’ click here. For more information regarding our digital tool for maximising waste management check out the SmartWaste page on our website.

Harriet Cooper
About the Author
BRE Graduate

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