Green Compass points the way for Welsh waste

Wales is well on the way to reaching the Welsh Assembly Government waste targets, thanks to the Green Compass scheme organised by Constructing Excellence in Wales (CEW) and launched by Jane Davidson AM, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing yesterday (13 July, 2009).

14th July 2009

Wales is well on the way to reaching the Welsh Assembly Government waste targets, thanks to the Green Compass scheme organised by Constructing Excellence in Wales (CEW) and launched by Jane Davidson AM, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing yesterday (13 July, 2009).

Waste handlers involved with the Green Compass scheme are already achieving recovery rates of around 83%, only 2% shy of the target that by 2010, 85 per cent or more of the waste generated by the construction and demolition sectors in Wales will be re-used or recycled.  Green Compass includes one organisation that has recovery rates of 100% for inert material.

Green Compass is a scheme that will provide the framework within which waste handling organisations can seek compliance with the new PAS 402 (Publicly Available Specification).  This specification, developed by CEW in cooperation with BSI, requires waste management organisations to demonstrate sound environmental practices which will then assist builders in selecting their contractors. It is expected that the scheme will allow more construction and demolition waste to be recycled and diverted from landfill.

Builders and construction companies wishing to specify their waste contractor on the basis of demonstrable, sound waste management will be able to use compliance with PAS 402, verified by Green Compass inspection, to help make the selection.  Since the ten ‘Pathfinder’ waste contractors signed up to the Green Compass pilot scheme, when it was launched last September, an average between 43% and 83% of waste has been recovered and diverted away from landfill and recycled and re-used.

Jane Davidson AM, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, said: “This launch is a tremendous step forward in the right direction and is one of a number of significant initiatives being developed by Constructing Excellence in Wales that will help us, the public sector and industry in challenging head on the problems we face with waste.  PAS 402 specification, together with Green Compass scheme, has the potential to drive forward improvements in the waste management industry to bring about the step change we need to achieve our goal of zero waste.”

The ‘Pathfinders’ involved in the pilot scheme deal with half a million tonnes of waste between them and it is estimated that around 200,000 tonnes of waste has been diverted from landfill since the Green Compass Pilot Project began in September.  Feedback from the Pathfinders and contractors has been positive and Constructing Excellence in Wales is now looking for more waste handlers to join the scheme.

“This is the proof required that sound processes and standards have a major impact on waste recovery rates.  What’s more, Wales is leading the UK in a scheme that could divert 85% of waste from landfill once rolled out across the country,”said Milica Kitson, chief executive of Constructing Excellence in Wales.

Constructing Excellence in Wales (CEW) has worked with BSI to develop PAS 402 as part of its Green Compass waste programme, which gives assurance to anyone disposing of construction waste that it will be collected, checked, recycled or disposed of in an environmentally sound fashion. PAS 402 provides the framework for waste management organisations to demonstrate performance in key areas. Green Compass, managed by CEW on behalf of the Welsh Assembly, is the first scheme of its kind in the UK and is expected to make a significant contribution to minimising the levels of waste going to landfill.

Sir David John, Chairman of BSI, said: “This is a major step forward for the waste handling sector and the construction industry as a whole.  Construction generates more waste than any other sector and a standard for its disposal and management was urgently required.  We can already see the benefits that PAS 402 will bring based on the evidence from the Green Compass Pilot Project.  Working alongside CEW, we have been able to access a lot of expertise in the field of waste handling to develop a robust, practical framework that will not only benefit the construction industry, but help divert significant levels of waste from landfill, achieving national environmental targets.”