Construction industry challenged to cut its landfill waste by nearly a third

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1 NEWS

The NZ Green Building Council (NZGBC) has issued a challenge to reduce waste from the construction industry by 30 per cent by 2020.

But the Government says it’s not all bad and it’s funding waste reducing initiatives.

Source: 1 NEWS

The construction industry dumps the most landfill waste and the council is pushing for waste reduction targets.

It says these achieved standout results during construction of London's Olympic Park. 

"They were able to divert from landfill 90 per cent of the waste that normally would have gone to landfill. That's a massive turnaround," Andrew Eagles, CEO of NZGBC, told 1 NEWS. 

He says it's time for New Zealand to be bold and follow suit because dumping is causing long-term environmental damage.

"My challenge is that we aim for significant reductions so let's say a 30 per cent reduction in construction waste by 2020.

"This is a really important issue right now for the quality of our life and also for future generations." 

The construction industry's dumping adds nearly a million tonnes to Auckland's annual landfill waste and around 250,000 tonnes in Christchurch. 

Marjan van den Belt, a sustainability specialist says the construction industry "has a great opportunity to do better".

But the Government is rejecting calls for regulation. 

"The blunt tool of regulation, when you are trying to deal with wide range of demolition material, runs the risk of just adding more red tape, more cost than you add value," said Environment Minister Nick Smith. 

Dr Smith's top priorities are hard-to-fix problems like toxic chemical waste, a stockpile of two million used tyres and water pollution caused by a proliferation of plastic micro beads. 

"The Government is focusing on those wastes that cause the greatest harm with a programme of reducing the impacts that waste has on the environment," he said. 

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