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  • Writer's pictureKelvin Mureithi

Waste Management Plans: What You Need to Know

Updated: Feb 13

The Benefits of Effective Waste Management Strategies for Your Building

Waste Management in Victoria

As town planning requirements for Waste Management Plans continue to evolve in Australia, it's more important than ever for developers and building owners to understand the process.

This article will provide an overview of policy requirements, the purpose of a waste management plan, relevant waste categories, and waste management strategies. We'll also highlight some best practices in the industry and include a case study of a development that needed a waste management plan.

Let's start with the Policy Requirements:

In Australia, a Waste Management Plan is a requirement for many development projects. The purpose of the plan is to ensure that waste generated during construction, demolition, or occupancy is managed in a way that is environmentally responsible, safe, and sustainable. Different states and territories have their own regulations and policies that govern Waste Management Plans. For example, in Victoria, the state government legislated the Circular Economy (Waste Reduction and Recycling) Act 2021 — which provides the regulation and laws underpinning the the state's waste and recycling sector.

Such policies create the umbrella under which regulations, guidelines, planning and operational requirements are set.

Which brings us to the next question:

What is the Purpose of a Waste Management Plan?

The primary purpose of a Waste Management Plan is to identify how waste will be generated, managed, and disposed of during a project's life. The plan should provide details on how waste will be minimised, reused, or recycled. It should also include details on how waste will be stored, collected, transported, and disposed of. A well-written Waste Management Plan can help to reduce the environmental impact of a development project, as well as the associated costs of waste disposal.

Here's what the plan aims to achieve:

  1. Identify stakeholders, including but not limited to owners, occupiers, body corporate, property managers/real estate agents, Council, neighbours, and collection contractors. Ensure that residents of multi-unit developments have access to recycling and other responsible waste management options.

  2. Develop an effective waste management system that is compatible with the design of the proposed commercial or multi-unit development and the surrounding environment. This system should be hygienic, clean, and tidy, and should minimise the amount of waste sent to landfills while maximising recycling.

  3. Provide a waste management system with scaled drawings to ensure that the final design and construction are compliant with the plan and are verifiable.

  4. Create a document that: effectively communicates the waste management system and informs all stakeholders of its design and the roles and responsibilities involved in its implementation.

  5. Avoid legacy issues in commercial and multiunit developments that arise from poor design and insufficient consideration for waste management.

So what are the Relevant Waste Streams?

There are many different types of waste that can be generated during a development project. These depend on what the building is used for and who occupies the building. Some of the most common waste categories include:

  • Construction and demolition waste ♽

  • General waste

  • Glass waste ♽

  • Paper and cardboard waste ♽

  • Hazardous waste

  • Electronic waste

  • Organic waste re

  • Clinical waste

Each waste category has its own specific requirements for disposal and management. It's important to identify all relevant waste categories and develop a plan to manage each one appropriately.

It is also vital that collection of each stream is made as convenient as possible. Otherwise, the waste streams get mixed up and makes it difficult to sort the waste for reuse or recycling.

WMP — waste management plan and strategies

Let's consider a few Waste Management Strategies

Developing an effective Waste Management Plan requires careful consideration of the waste management strategies that will be used. Some common strategies include:

  • Source separation of waste

  • Recycling and composting

  • Reuse of materials

  • Waste-to-energy technology

  • Landfilling

The most effective strategy will depend on the specific project and the waste categories involved. For example, a construction and demolition project may require a different strategy than an office building project.

Lastly let's look at some Best Practices for Effective Waste Management  during the operational phase —

To ensure that your Waste Management Plan is effective and sustainable, it's important to follow best practices in the industry. Some best practices include:

  • Conducting a waste audit before starting the project

  • Establishing clear waste management goals and targets

  • Training building occupants, staff and contractors on waste management practices

  • Using digital technology to track waste management

  • Continuously monitoring and improving waste management practices

That's a wrap...

If you're working on a development that requires a Waste Management Plan, Makao can help. We have extensive experience in developing effective and sustainable Waste Management Plans for a range of projects (medical centres, childcare, industrial parks, apartments, and mixed use developments). Contact us today to learn more.


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