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New Housing Subdivisions Are Great  with Michael BoturNew Housing Subdivisions Are Great with Michael Botur

New Housing Subdivisions Are Great – But Can They Reduce Waste?

We have exciting new builds being offered by Generation Homes at Totara Parklands, Jennian Homes at Kotata heights, Signature Homes at The Landing at Marsden Cove, not to mention Anchorage Villa. Duder Construction (Heritage Homes) are also worth looking at.

With all this creation, there’s going to be some waste. It’s part of the cost of progress.

Last year I helped a bunch of climate change denial people create a video shrugging off farmers’ responsibility for harmful methane emissions, so I’ve resolved to be a bit more conscious these days about promoting clean, green progressive causes.

One beneficial thing I’ve done is writing for an Auckland company which has set up a whole app to reduce waste. It’s called CivilShare. CivilShare is an app allowing anyone in the civil engineering industry to trade waste building materials, whether for profit or just to save on the cost of dumping at landfill. Founder Regan Burke’s company used to spend $100,000 a year throwing out excess treated timber.

This ties in with Resource Efficiency in the Building and Related Industries, (REBRI). It’s a set of policies and guidelines from BRANZ all about using materials, energy, time and money more effectively and cutting landfill.

One of the most useful things REBRI offers is the Resource Routing Calculator, within which is useful information on the weight of wood, plasterboard, metal and sweepings to help you work out what it might cost to dump the tonnage.

REBRI also suggests what can be salvaged from going to waste:

• Doors and windows – can be recycled by removing glass and recycle frame and
glass separately. Double glazing can be split, taken apart and recycled.
• Native timber lengths greater than 0.6 metres free of borer and nails can be re-
used. Same with hardwood.
• Tongue and groove flooring – can be reused.
• Asphalt – can be broken up and reused on site for temporary road construction or
• Whole bricks set with lime-based mortar can be reused in fences, landscaping and construction.
• Broken bricks – can be crushed for use as sub-base material or hardfill.
• Concrete – can be crushed and used loose on driveways or as a base course for
footpaths, roading, driveways and other asphalted or sealed surfaces
• Once recycled plasterboard is crushed, the gypsum can be sold as a powder or
moulded into pellets. Gypsum can be used as soil and compost conditioner and
for other agricultural applications, composted with other green waste, apparently,
or combined with sawdust and wood shavings for animal bedding, because it
absorbs moisture.

If you’re one of those people building brand-new homes, I salute you – we need more homes to drive prices down. But please: consider these tips for waste reduction.

• Include waste reduction instructions or standards in your contracts in your
induction material for staff and subcontractors. 
• Order just-in-time delivery of products to reduce the storage time on site (and
the potential for damage). Have accurate cutting lists and quantity surveys to avoid
overordering and product wastage.
• Talk with suppliers to get ideas about how to reduce off-cuts, mistakes and
damage to building materials
• Keep waste materials separate for recycling and reuse, stored in different skips,
bins or piles
• Set up a single waste storage area – many smaller bins over one site encourages
people to use the nearest bin, mix waste and fail to recycle
• Keep a current list of recycling operators in the site office for easy reference.

Michael Botur has published journalism in NZ Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times and Mana and he writes a lot of fiction. He moved to Whangarei in 2015 and was ecstatic to be able to afford a house here.

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