Para pākihi

Construction waste

Great steps are being taken to reduce waste on the many construction and renovation projects in our region. As well as leadership from within the building sector, client and government expectations for reducing waste are also growing. 

Despite these expectations and increased costs and shortages of many building materials, construction and demolition materials make up roughly half of New Zealand’s total landfill waste, and 80 per cent of waste going to clean fill. On average, a new home can generate four tonnes, or around $31,000, of wasted building materials in every house build.

This is costly for construction companies and their clients, as well as placing strain on the environment and resource supplies.

However with good planning, careful waste management practices and education, waste can be dramatically reduced from building projects. This page sets out the benefits from doing so, as well as tools and guides to help building companies save on materials and costs.

Bins in a line

Why reduce construction waste?

Reducing construction waste can bring a wide range of benefits for construction companies: 

Save money

  • save on waste disposal costs (particularly as landfill costs rise annually from July 2021)
  • make money from selling usable materials or fixtures, or recycling scrap metal
  • reduce your costs in needing to buy less new materials for upcoming projects
  • reduce costs for purchase and transport of wasted materials
  • avoid possible non-compliance costs and delays. 

Win work

  • win contracts for projects that specify waste reduction requirements, or attract clients who want to 'do the right thing'
  • improve client satisfaction and your company image, and encourage repeat business
  • help attract and retain employees.

To learn more on the benefits of reducing construction waste, and how to implement changes, download our guide below.

Construction Waste Reduction Plan: A guide
Timber waste

NPDC Construction Waste Reduction Plan requirement for commercial building projects

Anyone applying for a building consent for non-residential building work with an estimated value of $500,000 or higher must submit a Construction Waste Reduction Plan to NPDC for approval. 

The Government has indicated that this will become a requirement for all building consents in the coming years in changes to the Building Act.

New depot to reduce commercial waste 

In 2023 NPDC will open The Sorting Depot, a commercial waste sorting facility on Colson Road in New Plymouth. 

This facility will sort usable, recyclable and compostable building materials from mixed skips, as well as accepting pre-sorted materials. It will help retain valuable materials in our economy, and save construction companies' money compared to disposing of materials to landfill. 

Learn more

Good practice in the local construction sector

Since the requirement for a Construction Waste Reduction Plan was introduced by NPDC in August 2021, we have been working with a wide range of building consent applicants and construction and demolition companies to complete their Construction Waste Reduction Plans.

So far, construction companies that have completed Construction Waste Reduction Plans for underway projects include Bruce the Builder, Chris Bell Construction, Clelands Construction, Custom Construction, Downer, Kiwispan NZ, Leighs Construction, Livingston Building, Nikau Construction, Pepper Construction, Profound Group, and Steve Ekdahl.

Congratulations to these companies for implementing changes within their sites and teams in order to plan for waste reduction and track quantities and end destinations of waste materials.

If you would like to request a presentation for your project management or site team, please get in touch with a NPDC Commercial Waste Minimisation Officer.

Guidance on how to reduce construction waste

In order to keep usable and recyclable materials out of landfill, your company will need to be aware of available local solutions.

In the Construction Waste Reduction Plan Guide we have listed the best practice destination for common construction materials. We’ve also put together a list of local providers who will reuse construction materials, as well as a list of recyclers.

Please download the guide and refer to pages 9-15 for full details.

The Guide will continue to be reviewed and updated over time, so continue to check back here for the latest version. For example, treated timber was updated in the guide in Dec 2022, as it can now be recycled from New Plymouth.

Signs for separating construction materials on site

The following signs can be used on construction sites to separate materials so they can be reused, recycled, composted or chipped by different providers.