Avoiding wasteful techniques
PREVENTION is better than CURE!


This page will attempt to address the main methods in which we can avoid and or minimise waste within contruction and generally within day to day life, in order to become more efficient with the material wasted on the contruction site and the material wasted within the home. This page will also highlight the importantce of minimising waste and some of the consequences if we are not minimal with our wastage.

Why is it necessary?

Waste prevention is even more beneficial than recycling. Activities that prevent waste production, for example reusing building materials, not only cut waste and recycling collection costs; but also reduces materials' expenses.
Small changes to building practices and extra attention to detail can add up to significant savings to the builder, the homebuyer and the environment

Avoiding waste - Minimise it from the Source!
When you avoid making waste in the first place, you don't have to worry about disposing of waste or recycling it later. Changing your habits is the key to be minimal with waste. There's a ton of ways for you to reduce waste, save yourself some time and money, and be good to the Earth at the same time. Here are some of the many methods of how we can avoid and or minimise waste buildup.
For a better understanding as to why we come to the vast amouts of waste build up, please see Why is it Wasted page.

Ways to CUT Down

Resist Packaging
  • Buy products sold in refill packs or concentrated products.
  • Reuse plastic bags or reuse your own shopping bags.
  • Buy in bulk, avoiding buying single items.
  • Avoid single use packages.
  • Avoid products with excess packaging.
Resist Consumerism
  • Buy less - do you really need it? Can you use something else?
  • Ask around - does someone have one they don't want?
  • Pass them on to others such as family and friends or to second hand shops
  • Reuse things - adapt them for a new purpose - make art - reuse components
Maintaining Items
  • Buy durable items (things that will last for long time periods)
  • Take care of personal items to reduce re-buying things.
  • Can certain items be repaired rather than being binned immediately?
These are only a few ways for avoiding waste; for more detailed methods into how we can avoid waste please see the listed links below:




Although waste minimisation is effective it is not going to reduce waste output to zero. Therefore we also have to think about what we do with the rubbish that is left. For more infomation look to the Recycling page.
Avoiding Waste Within Construction
Most construction waste currently goes into landfills, increasing the burden on landfill loading and operation. Nationally, construction waste contributes a large portion to the waste stream destined for our nation's landfills. It is estimated that 2.5 to 4 tons — about 3 to 5 pounds per square foot — of waste is created during the construction of a typical home. Very little reuse or recycling is currently practiced.
Construction waste consists mainly of lumber and manufactured wood products, 35 percent; drywall, 15 percent; masonry materials, 12 percent; and cardboard 10 percent. The remainder is a mix of roofing materials, metals, plaster, plastics, foam, insulation, textiles, glass and packaging.
For more Infomation please see the Landfill page

With the implementation of an effective construction waste minimization effort, a high percentage of all waste materials listed above can be diverted from the landfill and recycled into new products. Below are some ways in which we can be minimal with waste on a constuction site
Construction Waste Minimisation Methods 

1. Design To Prevent Waste
  • Optimize building dimensions to correspond to standard lumber dimensions. 
  • Modify framing details to optimize lumber use and reduce waste and costs when ordering
  • Develop framing layouts to avoid waste and costs when ordering lumber.
  • Order drywall/ plasterboard in optimal dimensions to minimize cut-off waste. (Drywall is available in different lengths, and   designed dimensions should correspond to standard sizes.
  • Minimize the number of blueprints and reproductions necessary during the design and construction.
  • When remodelling, consider if collecting used lumber is possible.

2. Plan For Waste Prevention

  • Estimate the types and quantities of waste the project will generate and determine a schedule of when the wastes will be developed. 
  • Work with all suppliers to reduce waste on a project by asking them to buy back unused product.
  • Ask suppliers to deliver supplies using sturdy, returnable pallets and containers. Then have the suppliers pick up the empty containers when delivering new building materials.      
  • Ascertain if storage and handling practices prevent loss from weather and other means and make revisions as needed.

3. Prevent Waste On Site

  • Branches and trees from site clearing can be stored separately and chipped for use on the site as landscaping mulch (Protective covering).
  • During construction, collect, stack and cover brick and other masonry materials to prevent soiling or loss.
  • Store lumber on level blocking and under cover to minimize warping, twisting and waste.
  • Clean concrete chunks, old brick, broken blocks and other masonry rubble can be used as backfill (filling excavated areas) along foundation walls
  • Set aside, within a designated area, large drywall scraps to be used as filler pieces in small hidden areas e.g. gaps, cracks etc.
  • Install leftover insulation, within interior wall cavities or on top of installed attic insulation if it can not be used on another job.

4. Purchase to Prevent Waste

  • Avoid excessively packaged materials and supplies. Packaging should be adequate to prevent damage and waste.
  • Minimize waste of materials by ordering only the quantity needed in building specific lengths.
  • Avoid excessively packaged materials and supplies. Packaging should be adequate to prevent damage and waste.

The Consequences - Whats Happens if we don't avoid Waste?

The aftermath of not avoiding waste/ minimising waste and not recycling are going to be the same, as the end result for not doing either of these process will lead to more waste deposits being left behind us humans. However there are many negative issues which branch from the main subject of compiled wastage, some of these points include:
  • Higher fuel prices.Producing more aluminum, textiles, plastic, paper, and other brand new materials from scratch will consume far more energy than salvaging and reusing old materials. The more brand new products that must be created, the more energy used. The more energy used, less fuel is available. Less fuel, higher price.
  • More work and more consumer debt. The higher fuel costs rise, the more everyone will have to work to catch up with rising fuel costs. The only alternative would be to fall into debt.
  • Contaminated drinking water. Throwing away toxic materials like paint, batteries, CFL bulbs, and chemicals will inevitably find their way back into the groundwater. Public water plants can't filter out everything, not to mention it affects wildlife, too.
  • Creates more greenhouse Gasses, therefore harming the earth even further.

These not all of the negative effects in which not avoiding and or recycling waste has on the planet. For more detailed information on this please adhere to the following sites:






Waste reduction is anything that reduces waste by using less material in the first place. Reducing waste can be as simple as using both sides of a sheet of paper, using ceramic mugs instead of disposable cups, or buying in bulk rather than individually packaged items. The end result for producing less waste is money saved, resources conserved, pollution reduced, and landfill space saved.

Avoiding waste isnt the same as recycling, although recycling is rather important the greatest environmental benefits are achieved through source reduction or waste prevention. The idea is not to generate waste, but to  reduce waste at or near the source of generation. Practicing waste reduction and reuse are the best ways to divert the growing volume of waste. 

Created by Nathan Akpoteni