Is waste from your building project recycled and re-used or is it going straight to landfill? How industry standard PAS 402 is helping construction firms achieve their waste management targets
Through the creation of PAS 402, everyone in the industry can now have confidence that the construction and demolition material that goes into a skip and leaves a site will be handled according to a strict standard.
Developed in conjunction with the British Standards Institution (BSI), the specification requires waste management firms to demonstrate performance in a number of key areas of waste management, including landfill diversion and materials recovery.
It means that as a construction firm you have verifiable and authoritative information to hand when you undertake a waste management audit for a new building project. This will make it easier to assess the right contractor for the job and give you a greater chance of achieving the best and most cost-effective levels of recycling and reuse.
What is PAS 402?
PAS 402 was created in 2009 by BSI and Constructing Excellence in Wales (CEW), but the success of the framework has meant that it is now common in waste management audits throughout the UK.
Under the scheme, each waste management company must report their recovery rates for a variety of waste streams, such as plasterboard, metals or asbestos. Their landfill tonnage is recorded, increasing the motivation for re-use. These figures are then independently verified by an inspector from the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).
How construction firms benefit
Construction firms have a duty of care to ensure their waste is being dealt with legally and responsibly. With PAS 402, the zero waste ambitions of each waste contractor will be there for all to see, with an annual report detailing disposal and recovery rates on every material they handle. This makes it easier to compare performances and ensure that the firm you select in your waste management audit is competent in the areas you need.
Waste is an increasingly expensive issue for the construction industry, particularly as the rate of Landfill Tax continues to rise. From April, the levy will go from £84.40 per tonne to £86.10, with a further rise to £88.95 next year. Data from PAS 402 will also help establish the performance of your building projects under sustainability benchmarks BREEAM and WRAP, both of which aim to encourage the efficient use of resources.
More and more construction firms now recognise PAS 402 as an asset when pitching for work, particularly as many local authorities now specify it as part of their procurement process.
Wales leads the way
Since its inception as a pilot project in 2009, PAS 402 has made a significant contribution to Wales’ ambition to achieve zero waste by 2050.
Eighty waste management companies have now been independently inspected by UKAS, confirming the diversion of more than two million tonnes of waste. An additional 148,358 tonnes of material have also been diverted from landfill — saving more than £17 million.
The scheme, which has been known as Green Compass since 2013, was launched by CEW with the intention of tackling the lack of accurate and reliable waste reporting data it felt was hampering efforts to minimise waste. Crucially, CEW ensured that the industry was involved in writing the PAS, with 10 ‘pathfinder’ companies invited to take part and provide their input.
The resulting document was practical and one that the industry could support. All 10 pathfinder companies stayed with the project through to completion, road-testing the PAS at every stage and advising on its feasibility. These companies now have a sense of ownership of the PAS and are its strongest advocates within the Welsh waste management industry.
Waste firms have increased their efficiency and are winning more work because PAS increases the confidence of their customers, many of whom specify the standard in their waste management audit and procurement process. The success goes to show that construction waste is now being treated as a resource to be valued rather than ignored.
- All construction site waste under PAS 402 will be handled according to strict standards, and recycled where possible.
- PAS 402 originated in Wales in 2009 as part of its drive for zero waste by 2050.
- Many local authorities are now specifiying PAS 402 in their procurement process.