Good practice

Construction site waste management cuts CO2 emissions in half

Construction site waste management cuts CO2 emissions in half
© Peter, #198464969, 2019, source:
Medium cost
Co2 emission reduction:
50 % of waste related CO2
Premises and operation areas:
Waste and recycling
Size of company:
Small (less than 50)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

In the know

  • A municipal housing company set a goal to improve construction site waste recycling rate in a pilot project
  • Actions included establishing a waste sorting system at the site, educating workers and using waste statistics for follow-up and development
  • In addition to improved recycling rate, the project resulted in new know-how for the future

VAV group is a company wholly owned by the City of Vantaa. The company builds and owns rental apartments in Vantaa. Usually at building sites mixed waste is created in large masses. In 2016, the company decided to set an ambitious goal to improve the recycling rate in a pilot construction project. The goal of the recycling rate was set to 70 %, according to the criteria of the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

To reach this goal, a system was established to sort all the construction waste created at the site in cooperation with a waste management company. Efforts were made to get workers and supervisors to commit to the system, which was crucial to the successful implementation. The waste management company provided daily statistics of the different waste streams, which helped maintain and develop the waste management at the site during the construction project.

A recycling rate of 74 % was reached at the construction site. The cleanliness of the site was also improved, which is related to better worker safety. The estimation is that the better waste management, increased recycling, and reduced mixed waste output, enabled the reduction of waste associated CO2 emissions by over 50 %. The amount of mixed waste created at the site was 8 kg which creates just over 1 kg of CO2. In comparison, a typical construction site produces 15-20 kg of mixed waste per square metre. The calculations are based on the standard emission factors of different waste types in Finland.

Key benefits

  • Recycling rate of 74 % was reached
  • Waste associated CO2 emissions were reduced by 50 %
  • The company was able to develop their competence and know-how on waste management for future projects

"Sorted waste benefits both us and the environment. In addition, we are learning new ways to implement environmental requirements." -- Harry Korhonen, site engineer at NCC

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