24-25 Jul 2024

Zero to hero: waste in our construction and demolition industry

Jun 26, 2018

The waste from construction and demolition contributes 40 per cent of Australia’s total waste. However, much of this is clean, excavated material such as concrete, bricks and timber, which can be recovered through recycling. Luckily, some of our biggest companies are rising to the re-use challenge, with a growing number supporting zero waste policies. Here are four Australian businesses driving future change.


As part of Lendlease’s multi award-winning urban regeneration project, Barangaroo South, lies International House Sydney (IHS), the first timber commercial building engineered in Australia. Harnessing CLT technology, or Cross Laminated Timber, the building boasts exceptional environmental credentials, as well as produces zero waste as part of its production process. By using CLT, the building has a lower carbon footprint than other building materials and the timbers are sourced certified sustainably managed forests. The tower Each tower is designed to achieve 6 Star Green Star Design ratings and target 5 Star NABERS Energy and Water ratings.


The Sociable Weaver

With its distinctive butterfly roof and timber facade, The Sociable Weaver’s 10 star house is a strong example of how a sustainable home can achieve maximum comfort. Located in Cape Paterson, Victoria, the house has been built with a zero-waste philosophy and entirely using non-toxic materials – from the building itself to all furniture, fixtures and fittings. As part of the process, The Sociable Weaver created an onsite waste separation system, and trained its team and relevant onsite trades on correct waste disposal. The bin initiative was so successful the company now uses it across all other job sites, working towards a 100 per cent zero waste to landfill sites over the next two years. With its unprecedented 10 Star status, the project was designed in collaboration with Clare Cousins Architects and won the 2017 HIA Australian GreenSmart Home of the Year.

The 10 Star Home Waste Disposal. Credit: Dan Hocking


Forward-thinking developer, Mirvac has a target of zero waste to landfill by 2030. It’s on track too – with construction teams recycling 95 per cent of all building waste at its new development sites in the 2017 financial year. One of its latest development projects to achieve significant waste to landfill reduction is Marrick & Co, comprising 225 apartments and terrace homes in the inner-west Sydney suburb of Marrickville. Some of the initiatives include repurposing reclaimed bricks from existing buildings for hard landscaping, and preserving and restoring the site’s heritage buildings. The construction teams have been able to recycle a significant amount of onsite material too. With 95 per cent of Marrick & Co’s construction waste successfully diverted from landfill, Mirvac is now looking for innovative ways to close the 5 per cent gap to achieve its zero-waste target, exploring the potential of pre-fabrication on several new projects.

The Lilydale Terraces


As the owner and operator of Westfield in Australia and New Zealand, Scentre Group is committed to minimise waste and increase efficiency. This is demonstrated by the redevelopment of its Newmarket shopping centre, in New Zealand, expected to open in 2019. According to Scentre Group’s 2017 Sustainability Report, the project at the time of publication had diverted 79 per cent of all waste from traditional landfills. Demolition materials were segregated where possible, with more than 4000 cubic metres of rock crushed for re-use. Concrete, steel, copper, aluminium and other metals were recycled in the design and construction, while there are plans to introduce dedicated plasterboard recycling bins, so that the plasterboard can be recycled into gypsum (a calcium that improves soil quality), and on-sold to farmers. Darren Ellis, general manager of construction New Zealand, said: “Scentre Group places a focus on working well with contractors, adopting best business practices, and using equipment and materials sustainably.”

Newmarket Roof

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