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Clean and simple way to cut waste

Guide aims to cover all project sizes. By Mike Watson

Since the Department for Trade and Industry – now Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform – first introduced voluntary Site Waste Management Plans in 2004, the uptake has been encouraging. This comes as no surprise when we consider the powerful drivers by which they were accompanied.

With the Government’s Waste Strategy and its draft Sustainable Construction Strategy both calling for a halving of waste to landfill by 2012, and Landfill Tax rising to £32 per tonne of non-inert waste (and £2.50 for inert waste) in just a few months time, the Site Waste Management Plan makes good business sense.

But how can contractors get the most out of the plans?

WRAP has developed a set of Site Waste Management Plan templates and guidance. They will help contractors to achieve legislative compliance and demonstrate good practice by identifying opportunities to reduce waste, establish Key Performance Indicators and targets as well as measuring and reporting on performance. The templates are also a useful tool for clients and designers.

The templates have been developed and tested by contractors and cover three key areas – general construction, civil engineering and housing.

They are applicable to all sizes of project and all types of construction and are supported by operating instructions, detailed guidance notes, example workbooks and toolbox talks for site and project managers, waste champions and site operatives.

Where users are already implementing SWMPs, the templates and guidance can be used to identify improvements.

The templates are simple, in spreadsheet format, and provide a mechanism to demonstrate performance at standard, good or best practice levels.

Each level is presented as a series of 14 interactive steps that are designed to follow key stages of the project cycle, namely: pre-design; design; procurement; on site; and project completion.

Traffic light

Having established the mandatory requirements, the templates provide the option to predict and monitor waste levels relative to or independently from project level targets.

For each of these 14 steps, background information is provided and the requirements for three levels are ‘traffic light’ colour coded in line with existing guidance.

Once up and running, data need only be entered into the template once, and users are then guided automatically between steps, enabling performance and cost savings to be monitored.

The option of reporting against KPIs also means that elements can be extracted and incorporated into companies’ existing systems, ensuring that the templates help establish SWMPs as an integral part of the business improvement process.

These templates are based on a wide range of WRAP’s existing material and also point to guidance from other bodies such as the ICE’s Demolition Protocol.

Mike Watson is head of construction at WRAP. To download the complete set of templates and documents free of charge, visit