Young minds to tackle old industry issue
Some budding environmental engineers are helping Master Builders WA find new ways to tackle construction waste issues.
Murdoch University students have joined with the peak building and construction industry association to review and improve construction waste processes at three Right Homes sites in Perth.
The six third and fourth year students have been tasked with designing new measures to ensure that less waste goes to landfill.
If successful, their waste management designs could be utilised by the construction industry.
Industry players will be keen to find better ways of dealing with waste due to a recent doubling of the landfill levy rate, from $28 per tonne to $55 per tonne for putrissable waste and from $12 up to $60 per cubic metre for construction and demolition waste.
Further staged increases will see the levy increase to $70 per tonne in July 2019.
“In the wake of the levy increase, we want to be able to go out to our members and educate them about the best waste practices available and this is where the students come in,” said Michael Norriss, a Waste Reduction Consultant from Master Builders WA.
“The students will be required to undertake research into how waste is currently disposed of on construction sites, identify what materials can be recycled and investigate the best practices in construction site recycling.
“We want them to recommend recycling practices that are the least time consuming, the cheapest and the most energy efficient. We want them to work with recycling companies to identify recycling opportunities for materials that might not be widely known about or utilised,” he said.
“There is a real gap in knowledge among our members about what can be done with their waste and we hope the students will help them to fill this.”
One of the students, 22-year-old Damien Arnaud, says he iss pleased to be working on such a big issue for construction businesses.
“Landfills only have a finite amount of space and better management practices will have less impact on them, the environment and on builders,” he said.
“I worked on domestic waste management for a company in Indonesia for a summer job so I have some experience of the sort of challenges we’ll face on this project. This, however, is on a much larger scale!”
The project will last for three months, with the students to present their ideas to Right Homes and Master Builders WA in June.
Master Builders WA is providing the appropriate training and protection gear so the students can work on site.