October 13, 2020
Reducing Waste Through Material Management
If you have ever been on a construction site, you have likely seen large dumpsters full of various types of construction debris, trash, etc., and wondered, what happens to all this stuff after it leaves the site? The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) classifies these types of materials as Construction & Demolition debris, and the volume of this type of waste has increased exponentially over the past 10-15 years, reaching 569 million tons in 2017. Although most of this material waste occurs when buildings are demolished, it is estimated that nearly 30% of all materials that are released to a construction site are ultimately classified as waste.
So what we can do to minimize material waste? One of the most significant ways we can make an impact is through effective purchasing practices and logistics planning. Taking the time to conduct a thorough construction estimate to determine accurate material forecasts, along with efficient purchasing and onsite logistics management, can make a significant impact on the amount of waste or possible material returns on a job site. Ensuring that we order the right materials, in the right quantities, is the first step in ensuring that we are minimizing material waste on our job sites. Additionally, partnering with our vendors to establish a vendor-managed inventory system (VMI) is another effective strategy to ensure that the appropriate amount of materials get released and consumed on the job site. Typically, VMI systems come equipped with robust inventory management systems which make the onsite inventory more visible, therefore significantly reducing the chances of misplaced materials and duplicate material orders.
In addition to effective purchasing practices, proper onsite logistics management is another tool in our arsenal to reduce material waste on job sites. Simple tactics such as proper material storage, maintaining accurate material inventories and working with vendors to reduce material packaging can have significant impacts on the amount of waste generated onsite. It is critical to ensure that materials are stored in a dry, clean and secure environment and that the inventory of these items is kept up to date and communicated clearly to the team. Lastly, utilizing manufacturing resources to pre-fabricate as much as possible can greatly reduce the amount of waste generated on site. By having materials cut to size in a controlled manufacturing environment, we can reduce the number of off cuts on items such as wire, conduit and strut.
As we move into the future, sustainability and the efficient use of resources will continue to be a key concern for customers and end users alike. At Faith Technologies, we look to our core values as we continue to redefine what’s possible and build trust in everything we do by doing our part to reduce material waste. Reducing waste on job sites is not a difficult process; like many things, through detailed planning and thorough execution, we can and will make an impact.