Should you be concerned about the amount of excess waste and reliance on newly mined material in the construction industry?

You might think that excavated waste and reliance on new material in the construction industry is not your problem. But, if you take a closer look at the impact of the construction industry on the environment and the increased cost of real estate development because of material waste and reliance on newly minded material, you might change your mind.

Recycling programs in the construction industry are starting to pick up traction, but many still focus on building materials like wood, plastic, concrete, and metal. Recycling and reuse of excavated, dredged, and fill material are still lagging, but the Government, First Nations, and environmental organizations are taking note.

Is this a problem?

During a recent workshop organized by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) regarding the beneficial reuse of dredged and excavated materials, the need for a fill exchange system became more evident.

We learned that over 2.2 million cubic metres of dredged material and excavated material are dumped in the ocean each year in the Vancouver area alone. That's the size of over 880 Olympic swimming pools dumped into the sea, never to be used again. And so much more is disposed of at inland commercial dump sites.

What a big waste considering that most of the river-dredged material and a significant portion of excavated material is generally clean of contaminates and can be used as Clean Fill. Clean Fill is another term for fill material used at construction sites as fill placement for ground leveling and reinforcement. Transfer stations and material suppliers can also store Clean Fill for later use.

The current waste and reliance on new material are not sustainable.

As sea levels continue to rise, populated areas located close to the sea will need to be more proactive about land elevation and reinforcement. Instead of dumping valuable resources at sea, we can reuse the material at other construction sites that need it.

Is anyone doing anything about this?

As attendees at the workshop voiced their current concerns and suggested solutions, we were pleased to realize that they were describing a fill exchange system, something Fill Connect already does.

Even though the construction industry is still lagging with technology and online collaboration, we are confident that as more in the industry realize that a fill exchange platform already exists, they will give technology a chance.

Small construction sites can save thousands of dollars, and big projects can save hundreds of thousands on a single project if they collaborate more, reduce waste, and decrease their reliance on newly mined material.

The most significant impact is on the environment.

Collaborating with nearby project sites also reduces trucking distances helping construction sites reduce their carbon footprint.

We cannot reduce the amount of construction, but we can reduce the construction industry's impact on the environment with better collaboration and material reuse.

Next time you walk or drive by a construction site, take a closer look. What happens there affects your health and your pocket. You can be part of the solution.

Share Fill Connect with anyone you know that deals with excavation, construction, or land reclamation.