Supply Chain Sustainability School releases guidance on packaging waste in construction

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The Supply Chain Sustainability School has released its industry report addressing packaging waste in the built environment sector which provides practical solutions for reducing impact on both cost and carbon.

The report addresses the critical economic and environmental challenges and whilst it does focus on the housebuilding sector, its insights extend beyond and are relevant for wider construction, facilities management, infrastructure, and more.

Ten School Partners have collaborated to co-fund this project, with a total of over 30 organisations joining forces to make this report possible. It encompasses real-world, actionable examples of packaging optimisation, including source elimination, reuse strategies, and optimal recycling conditions. It covers various packaging types, offering a comprehensive guide to implementing effective change.

The report sheds light on the policy challenges that organisations dealing with significant packaging volumes are likely to encounter. It addresses key concerns such as the Plastic Packaging Tax and Extended Producer Responsibility, providing essential insights for navigating regulatory landscapes.

The UK construction industry alone generates around 55,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually, with an estimated 35,000 tonnes originating from packaging. Less than half of this plastic packaging is recycled, reinforcing the urgency of effective solutions.

Matt Nichols, regional director at Reconomy and chair of the School’s Waste and Resource Use Leadership Group, said: “Packaging and the waste created by its treatment remains a major contributor to cost and carbon across the entire built environment. 

“Our Housebuilding sector is not alone in experiencing major challenges to address this problem, so this opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in the industry whilst drawing upon insights from so many expert stakeholders within the School partnership could not be missed.” 

Mark Turner, waste and resource management lead for the Supply Chain Sustainability School, highlighted the collaborative effort behind the report: “This has been a brilliant opportunity to help deliver our School mission to enable a sustainable built environment through knowledge and collaboration.

“We have worked closely alongside four of the UK’s largest housebuilders and in total, over 30 leading organisations within the built environment to produce this report. Insights from the housebuilders, their suppliers, product manufacturers, along with waste management and policy experts have provided a window into the opportunities for packaging optimisation. Most crucially, all of these organisations have entered into the spirit of open collaboration, providing solutions and practical examples for others to follow.”

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