May 16, 2020

GBCSA aims to change perspectives during World Green Building Week

World Green Building Council (WGBC)
Brian Wilkinson
CEO of GBCSA
GBCSA
Catherine Sturman
2 min
Brian Wilkinson, CEO of GBCSA
The impact of buildings on the environment is astounding, with the built environment currently accounting for 25% of the worlds water usage and 60% of i...

The impact of buildings on the environment is astounding, with the built environment currently accounting for 25% of the world’s water usage and 60% of its electricity.

Organised by the World Green Building Council (WGBC) and led by its global network of 74 Green Building Councils and their 27,000 members, this significant week raises awareness of how green buildings are the most effective means of achieving a range of environmental, social and economic goals.

Like supporters all over the world, GBCSA will be initiating conversations around the role buildings play in strengthening a sustainable future, spreading the message using #WGBW16 and #BetterBuildGreen on social media and holding exclusive not-to-be-missed local public events.

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of GBCSA, is excited by the potential for positive impact of this year’s WGBW theme. “Change your Perspective is a very appropriate theme because this is exactly what we need people to do - gain a new perspective on buildings and understand the impact that green building can have on global emissions, energy, water, health, the economy and beyond,” says Wilkinson.

The GBCSA has made significant strides towards a greener built environment and is confident of its 2020 pledge, announced at the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP21) in December 2015.

The ambitious goals it has committed to in this pledge include introducing a net zero building certification scheme and securing statements of commitment from 50 of the biggest property owners in South Africa by the year 2020.

Also at COP21, the WGBC launched Better Build Green, a single-minded campaign which cuts through the jargon of green building with straight-talk that appeals to and resonates with the man in the street. GBCSA will share this hard-hitting green building story during WGBW.

“Climate scientists are warning that the industrialised world must now strive to achieve less than a two-degree temperature increase by the end of the century or our world could be changed forever. Better Build Green underscores green building as the solution to global warming; the real hero of the climate change story. Simply put, not only had we better build green if we are to reach a two-degree world tomorrow, but we are better off today if we do,” says Wilkinson.

Building a better world is in everybody’s hands and the local green building council is offering something for everyone to get involved during WGBW.

“We invite everyone who is interested to learn more or get involved to join us during WGBW and find out how the actions and leadership of our members and global leaders are helping to deliver green buildings, as well as celebrate their positive outcomes,” welcomes Wilkinson.

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Jul 29, 2021

Environment Agency clamps down on plastic films and wraps

Environment
construction
plastic
Recycling
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Environment Agency aware of plastic film and wrap from the construction and demolition sector being illegally exported

Businesses in the waste and construction industries must ensure they deal with waste plastic properly to stop illegal exports, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned. 

The warning comes as the Agency is increasingly aware of plastic film and wrap from the construction and demolition sector being illegally exported. 

Exports are frequently being classified as ‘green list’ waste of low risk to the environment, but are often contaminated with materials such as mud, sand, bricks and woodposing a risk to the environment and human health overseas, and undermining legitimate businesses in the UK seeking to recover such waste properly.

During the last year, the EA has intercepted shipments to prevent the illegal export of this material on numerous occasions. The Agency inspected 1,889 containers at English ports and stopped 463 being illegally exported. This, combined with regulatory intervention upstream at sites, prevented the illegal export of nearly 23,000 tonnes of waste.

Those convicted of illegally exporting waste face an unlimited fine and a two-year jail sentence. But construction firms could also face enforcement action if contaminated construction and demolition waste plastic is illegally exported.

Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, said it is seeing a marked increase in the number of highly contaminated plastic film and wrap shipments from the construction and demolition industry being stopped by officers.

“I would strongly urge businesses to observe their legal responsibility to ensure waste is processed appropriately, so we can protect human health and the environment now and for future generations. It’s not enough just to give your waste to someone else - even a registered carrier. You need to know where your waste will ultimately end up to know it’s been handled properly. We want to work constructively with those in the construction and waste sectors so they can operate compliantly, but we will not hesitate to clamp down on those who show disregard for the environment and the law.”

There are a number of simple, practical steps that businesses can take to ensure that C&D site waste is handled legally.

Construction businesses should check what’s in their waste

  • Different waste types need different treatments and so must be correctly categorised to ensure it goes to a site that is authorised to handle it safely. Businesses can also check if their waste is hazardous as different rules might apply.
  • If you are removing the waste yourself, you must be a registered waste carrier- registration can be carried out here. When a waste collector is transporting your site waste, you must check they have a waste carrier’s licence from the EA.
  • You must also check that the end destination site any waste is taken to is permitted to accept it and has the right authorisations in place. Keep a record of any waste that leaves your site by completing a waste transfer note or a consignment note for hazardous waste which record what and how much waste you have handed over and where it is going.

Waste management industry must adhere to export controls

  • Contaminated C&D waste plastic - including low-density polyethylene (LDPE) wrap and film - must be exported with prior consent from the EA as well as competent authorities in transit and destination countries.
  • Those involved in the export of such waste must ensure that it meets the requirements set under the relevant export controls, such as being almost free-from contamination; the destination sites are appropriately licensed to receive and treat the waste; and waste is correctly managed once received.

The EA will continue to actively target those who export contaminated C&D plastic waste illegally, including any accredited packaging exporters who issue Packaging Waste Export Recovery Notes (PERNs) against such material in breach of their Conditions of Accreditation.

Businesses involved in the shipment of waste are required to take all necessary steps to ensure the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling.

Anyone with information regarding the illegal export of waste including C&D waste plastics can contact the EA’s Illegal Waste Exports team at: [email protected] or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website 

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