It’s not easy being green, but as a construction business, it’s becoming ever more vital.
In October 2021 the UK Government launched a road map to achieving zero avoidable waste in the construction sector by 2050. The heat is on, for every business to take a serious look at how it’s managing waste and adding to the growing problem of carbon emissions in the UK.
As advocates for a circular economy, and an industry that recycles first, we know there is no simple solution, but even the smallest changes can make a big difference when you’re playing your part in reducing environmental impact and becoming more green.
In this feature, we’ve covered the areas that can be changed with ease, so you can then focus on thinking long-term at the bigger solutions we all need to find together.
Be Fuel Efficient
The fuel crisis in September 2021 created a major struggle for many construction companies who rely on fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel to keep their vehicles running.
No vehicles to get to site or bring materials, no way of getting the job done, let alone completed on time.
As fossil fuels become increasingly unstable and are yet another way of contributing to environmental pollution; it’s no wonder more companies are looking at eco alternatives such as electric vehicles.
While electric vehicles may feel like a major investment, especially as the UK doesn’t have the developed infrastructure to support electric charging units, it is something to consider, especially with smaller vehicles.
Aside from eclectic vehicles, it’s also about getting fuel-efficient. Are you making the most of a tank, and are all journeys necessary?
Planning effectively is part of reducing fuel consumption, and this can play a part in helping decrease your company’s own carbon emissions.
As a company Registered with the Environment Agency we know that much of the waste created from sites can be recycled. Not every piece of ‘waste’ needs to enter landfill.
As seasoned waste removers, we know this is easily done when you have a skip as the team just pile any old ‘waste’ into the skip, which immediately gets taken to a landfill site.
However, this isn’t the case with a grab hire service, as we’re proactive about educating you on what can be recycled and ensuring your team separate waste materials so that everything has the best chance of being recycled.
Much of the material you have on-site can actually be recycled and even re-used.
Housing projects are a perfect example, especially on a large commercial scale, as there are often leftover flooring, doors, windows, bathtubs, sinks, cabinets and much more, all of which can be recycled, or used on a future project.
Even waste can be re-used. For example, rubble can get filtered and made into cement, or even aggregate. Don’t just presume that everything has its own use. The reality is, there are now many innovative ways you can give things a new life, you just have to get savvy with choosing a conscious waste remover.
At AJ Grab Hire we work with a network of partners who enable us to take your waste to the best place to ensure it doesn’t go into landfills. We try to give everything a second life.
Don’t ditch good materials. It’s not only an environmental waste, it’s also a financial waste.
If you have the ability to store materials that are in good condition, make it a habit of creating a stock room of materials that you can go back to, rather than just putting that one door in the waste pile.
You could also sell waste products and make a small bit of your cost back. There are now many circular construction sites that try to connect people with odd bits to ensure that nothing is going to waste. From bathtubs to kitchen sinks and doors, these sites enable construction companies to move odd pieces that are no longer in use, and consumers to grab themselves a deal.
On the other hand, if you want to get creative, your team could donate, or build things from your waste materials and give them to local communities or charities. For example, one local building contractor in Cambridgeshire recently used much of their waste materials to build mud kitchens for local nurseries.
Switch to Digital
Still, using paperwork? – Stop!
We know that the construction industry is still stuck in its ways when it comes to paperwork. Most tradespeople love a bit of paper to make things official. But the truth is, our reliance on paper is a major damage to the environment.
Instead, by switching to digital methods you can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.
Thanks to easy to use devices such as tablets and smartphones, there’s just no need for paper to be present in the office, or on-site.
While it may take time to do this switch, start with something simple, and work your way through each of your paper processes.
It’s also important that you get your team on board with this switch, so ensure to take the time to educate them on how to use these new devices, and above all, why you’re switching to digital.
Many construction companies use the excuse that “it’s the way things are done around here”, which just isn’t good enough. We know that change is hard, especially in an industry that’s steeped in so much tradition. But as soon as you take the step, you’ll be surprised at how it inspires others around you.
You can do everything digitally now; sign contracts, manage your accounts and send invoices, buy materials, manage health and safety.
Choose Eco-Friendly Materials
There has been a sharp rise in environmentally sustainable materials as more companies look to reduce the waste coming out of the construction sector.
While bricks made from plastic may not feel like something you’re willing to experiment with yet, you can speak to your suppliers about how they acquire materials. By doing your research you may be able to find suppliers who value environmental friendliness and sustainability that won’t cost more than your regular supplier.
Start doing your research, and make the effort to understand more about the materials you are purchasing.
Invest In Your Local Environment
Many traders like to donate to local charities, or play their part in supporting the community, so why not also support the local environment.
As many environmentalists and conservationists will explain, it’s more important for us to protect and support our local environment than it is to invest in the rainforest or the glaciers in the Antarctica.
If we all supported the area that was most local to us, we would all be having a greater impact on the environment, and we would see the difference.
With this in mind, you can start to collaborate with your local council or charities on ways in which you can give back to the local environment. Whether that’s planting more trees or donating bird boxes.
Consider connecting with locals and getting involved with maintaining and protecting the environment around where your business is based.
Get Your Team Onboard
Environmental change is all about people power. The collective makes the biggest change. So while you may be passionate about transforming your company and championing a more eco-conscious business, it won’t happen without your people.
The trouble is, you can’t just inflict this eco way onto them, you really need them to take this environmental change to heart. After all, we make decisions with our hearts, not with our heads.
Begin trying to show your team the impact of not being environmentally conscious. Take them to local landfill sites, get them to see areas of pollution that have been devastated.
It may sound dramatic, but until people really see for themselves what is happening even in their local area, they won’t make a change.
Once everyone is on board with wanting to make a change, begin to initiate new trainings and processes in the company to support this shift.
Contact our team today to discuss how we can help you make your waste removal greener.