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Construction's plastic waste problem

29 Oct 21 While the UK as a whole is learning to create less plastic waste, the construction industry is producing more and more.

In 2018 the UK construction industry created 98,284 tonnes of plastic waste
In 2018 the UK construction industry created 98,284 tonnes of plastic waste

According to an analysis of latest government data, plastic waste from the UK as a whole decreased by 2.7%. But  construction , it seems, didn't get the memo. UK construction industry plastic waste increased by 46% over the same two years.

The figures from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) relate to the two years to March 2018, making them three years out of date – but they are the latest available data.

The statistics suggest that while waste in general is an issue for the construction industry, plastic waste is particularly problematic.  Over the four years to March 2018, plastic waste from UK construction companies increased 70%. Total wastage of all materials from the construction industry increased by 2.2% in the same four year period.

In 2018 the UK construction industry created 98,284 tonnes of plastic waste.

The analysis was conducted by a company that makes site storage, SiteStak, which believes that better housekeeping and inventory management on site could help reduce waste.

Peter James, managing director of SiteStak, said: “Our analysis of DEFRA data raises concerns about how the building industry is handling materials, with large quantities of non-biodegradable plastic waste sadly still ending up in landfill. Construction is heavily dependent on plastic, with packaging, unused materials, offcuts and improper storage and handling of plastic often being the biggest culprits.”

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