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Upcoming ‘shovel-ready projects’ encouraged to be sustainable

The Government’s being pressed on its commitment to the environment as it prepares to counter the economic impact of Covid-19.

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The Green Building Council wants sustainability clauses in the upcoming Covid-19 recovery projects. Source: 1 NEWS

The Green Building Council is calling for all "shovel ready" projects to be sustainable to reduce landfill waste around the country.

The Council’s call comes as industrial waste plants reopen and the construction sector gets back to work after the lockdown.

“Covid-19 gives us a huge opportunity to reset and think about this,” says Andrew Eagles, Green Building Council Chief Executive.

“There is a real opportunity for the Government to be leading by not just funding but actually walking the walk and reducing waste themselves on these ‘shovel ready’ projects they’re talking about.”

The Government will spend billions of dollars on infrastructure and building projects nationwide.

Environment Minister Eugenie Sage says work is underway to encourage businesses in the building and construction sectors reduce landfill waste. Her officials are also looking into the issue of contractual procurement guidelines.

“It’s easy to say that we should sustainably reduce construction and demolition waste and we should have sustainability as key part of that,” Eugenie Sage says.

“It’s just how do you make that happen?”

Andrew Eagles says many large projects being completed by the private sector deliver on sustainability clauses that reduce waste.

He says the onus is on the Government to ensure all new buildings like schools and hospitals and other large scale projects follow suit.

Green Gorilla is a sustainable commercial waste company in Auckland. It’s Chief Executive, Elaine Morgan, says it would be fairer if there were some sector rules around sustainability.

“We struggle to compete with companies that don’t do what we do and send their waste directly to landfill,” Ms Morgan says.

“It’s really difficult to compete on a price basis because sending waste to landfill is by far the cheapest option.”

The Government is currently working through a list of more than 1,000 projects that will be funded to boost the country’s flagging economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.