An ecolabel specification that will encourage companies to reduce the amount of construction and demolition (C&D) waste going to landfill has been launched in New Zealand.
Launched at the WasteMINZ conference last year, the new specification, EC-59 C&D Waste Services, has been developed by the New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust (NZET).
NZET general manager Francesca Lipscombe says the Trust believes the new specification could be a game-changer for waste management in the construction industry.
Research shows that by weight, the C&D industry is one of the largest waste producers in the country and makes up around half of all waste going to landfill.
A feasibility study by the Trust also found that the most significant issue is the amount of material going straight into landfill when it could be reused.
Ms Lipscombe says the Trust hopes the specification will encourage more innovative waste management practices within the industry.
“As the official ecolabel for New Zealand, our goal has been to deliver a powerful ecolabel which incentivises good practices in C&D waste services,” Ms Lipscombe says.
“The specification answers a real need in the market and will drive positive change by differentiating service providers by their environmental impact. The Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ) label will lend verified providers kudos with customers.
Those with the label will be recognised as top performers who reliably demonstrate best-practice around waste minimisation, from waste reduction through recovery, reuse and recycling.”
Ms Lipscombe says the specification is a signal for consumers and organisations looking to support sustainable C&D waste services providers.
“There’s been a clear shift in thinking, and more people and businesses are looking for services that have a positive impact on the environment and society.
“I believe the specification will drive real, positive change across the industry, and support better management of the projected increase in C&D waste in coming years.”
The specification has been carefully developed and was made possible through a grant from Auckland Council’s Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund.
The development process included consultation with industry players and experts.
“The council’s grant has been crucial to the successful completion of the specification. We’re also thankful to the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) and WasteMINZ for their ongoing support.”
Ms Lipscombe says the C&D Waste Services label will also help verify waste-diversion credits in the NZGBC’s Green Star rating tool — a tool that measures the sustainability credentials of buildings across nine categories.
The specification will be awarded on a project basis, and cover domestic and commercial construction and demolition waste.
It will include best-practice criteria for waste minimisation planning, waste management on site, transportation, sorting and processing, reuse, recycling, and disposal.
Licensed organisations will be required to report on measures of success in diverting waste from landfill.
To find out more details on EC-59 C&D Waste Services go to https://bit.ly/2nWik2T.