A Guide to Site Waste Management Plans

Every year, companies waste millions of pounds by mismanaging their waste. Whether through neglecting to formulate and implement a proper plan, or through the mismanagement of the waste itself, companies could benefit from a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP).

SWMPs help protect the environment from the disposal of useful materials, which often end up in landfill, as well as the energy spent on clearances when the waste is not disposed of legally.

It is suggested that every project should utilise these plans to better deal with their materials. In 2013 the legal obligation of having a SWMP was removed, but it is still encouraged by the government to help ensure the project follows good industry practice.

In order to help you fully understand what a SWMP involves, we’ve put together what they address, who they impact and the benefits they bring.

What are they?

Other than setting out a plan for how the materials and waste you produce on your construction project are dealt with throughout the process, a SWMP can cover a range of things, including:

  • Who is responsible for the resource management  
  • Elimination of excess waste e.g over ordering of products
  • The type of waste produced by the project
  • Whether the waste is recycled, reused or reduced
  • The contractors you select for managing your waste
  • How you will measure the quantity of waste you produce

Who does it affect?

There are a number of groups for who SWMPs could be a useful, flexible tool, with many encouraged to engage in them willingly. The following are a selection of those groups who would gain from SWMPs:

  • Anyone planning a construction project in England where the estimated cost of construction exceeds £300,000
  • Anyone on a small project in England wanting to implement good practices
  • Anyone planning for a project where the client or local authority require you to have a SWMP

How do you benefit?

There are numerous benefits to implementing a Site Waste Management Plan for your operations or construction project. Take a look at just some of the ways in which you stand to gain:

  • Compliance  – Should the local authority or the Environment Agency visit or enquire regarding your waste management practices, you’ll be able to demonstrate a clear plan and record keeping process ensuring that your business is fully compliant.
  • Avoid legal action – Disposing of waste illegally can result in a fine or a prison sentence, but with an SWMP in place you will have a dedicated plan of action
  • New business – Environmental Awareness is a key factor in the bidding stage for most companies, therefore an extensive SWMP will add to the quality of any tender or bidding process.
  • Save money – A SWMP will clearly identify the amount of waste that your business is producing and can highlight avenues to reduce it, which will ultimately save you money
  • Helping the environment – Managing your materials responsibly will have a positive impact on your carbon footprint.
  • Future planning – Any future projects will be easier to plan if you already have SWMPs in place for similar work, saving time and money

According to the Environment Agency report from 2008, 10m tonnes of construction materials are wasted annually, costing roughly £1.5 billion. With a Site Waste Management Plan in place, you can reap the benefits by not only providing legal documentation how you’re dealing with waste, but also through saving your company time and money.

For more information on SWMPs or to discuss the implementation of one, please call our experienced members of staff at Powerday on 020 3858 0504.