Spotlight on… plastics and packaging follow up article

In February 2019, the Scheme launched its latest campaign, ‘Spotlight on… plastics and packaging’, to raise awareness of the issue of plastic pollution in the construction industry.

‘Spotlight on… plastics and packaging’ provides guidance and resources to help the construction industry reduce its consumption of plastics and packaging. The campaign includes statistics, examples of best practice and valuable resources. It also includes case studies from leading contractors, suppliers and construction industry organisations.

It is evident that the production, consumption and disposal of plastics are serious problems, with over eight billion tonnes of plastic having been produced since the early 1950s. Despite the environmental risks associated with plastics and packaging, the construction industry is reliant on plastics in its everyday practices and is the second largest consumer of plastic in the UK.

As part of our research for this campaign, the Scheme issued a survey to gauge the opinions of almost 900 construction industry professionals on this issue. Of those surveyed, 98% said the over-consumption of plastics and packaging is a global issue. Nonetheless, 81% said the construction industry is not doing enough to reduce its consumption of plastics and packaging. With the industry consuming around 23% of all plastic produced in the UK, it is vital that the industry does more to tackle the issue of plastic pollution in construction.

The campaign has been featured in: Building.co.uk, Construction Industry Council (CIC), Construction Manager, Construction News, Packaging Europe, PBC Today, SHP Online, UK Construction Online and UK Construction Week.

New Best Practice and Innovation

The urgent need to address the issue of plastic pollution in the construction industry has resulted in a number of sites, companies and suppliers finding ways to reduce their consumption of plastics and packaging, leading to a number of examples being submitted to the Best Practice Hub including:

In addition to submitted entries, the Scheme has identified a number of innovative activities being carried out by construction sites, companies and suppliers that are tackling the issue of plastic pollution. These innovations include:

What Next?

Although a number of construction sites, companies and suppliers are doing more to reduce the consumption of plastics and packaging, it is clear that the whole of the construction industry must make a long-term commitment to address the issue of plastic pollution.

Scheme Monitors visit tens of thousands of construction sites and offices every year, providing them with insights into industry attitudes and practices. We asked our Monitors to complete a survey about how sites are confronting the over-consumption of plastics and packaging in the construction industry. The survey results revealed that:

  • 98% of Scheme Registered organisations are aware of the Spotlight on… plastics and packaging campaign
  • Scheme Monitors report that 86% of Scheme Registered organisations are taking steps to reduce their consumption of plastics and packaging
  • 83% of Scheme Registered organisations are encouraging their workforce to reduce their use of plastics
  • 74% of Scheme Monitors have seen an improvement in the approach to tackling plastic pollution during their time in the industry
  • 72% of Scheme Registered organisations are raising awareness of the issue of plastic pollution
  • Although 69% of Scheme Registered organisations are using alternatives to plastic packaging, 65% are still not setting targets for reducing plastic consumption

Case studies

Since the launch of our ‘Spotlight on… plastics and packaging’ campaign, a number of contractors and suppliers have got in contact to showcase how they are reducing their consumption of plastics and packaging

Astins explains how it has replaced its mastic packaging to foil tubes to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste and the volume of packaging waste produced on site. Read the case study here.

Berkeley Homes (South East London) Ltd describes how it is tackling the issue of plastic pollution in the construction industry by reducing the volume of plastic consumed on site. Read the case study here.

Crown Paints has become the first paint manufacturer in the UK to launch paint containers made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste (PCW) plastic, potentially saving tonnes of PCW plastic from unnecessarily ending up in landfill. Read the case study here.

Enva outlines how it is helping the construction industry to reduce, re-use and recycle its plastic and packaging waste to help preserve the environment and local ecosystems. Read the case study here.

Newton Waterproofing presents its Newton Membrane Recycling Service, a closed loop recycling scheme which aims to improve sustainability and address the issue of plastic pollution in construction. Read the case study here.

New E-Learning Course

The Scheme has developed a new e-learning course on the issue of plastics and packaging in the construction industry. Our e-learning courses are free of charge and can be accessed by all registered Hub users.

Click here to take ‘Plastics and Packaging’ e-learning

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