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South Australia’s C&D waste solution

Government figures show construction and demolition waste is on the rise in South Australia, with about 1000 homes demolished in Adelaide each year. Dick Olesinski from KESAB Environmental Solutions explains how education could be the key to improving resource recovery.


Construction and demolition (C&D) waste has long been an issue in South Australia, but one organisation continues to change the way builders think about how they dispose their waste.

Through its Clean Site program, KESAB is aiming to increase recycling and resource recovery rates from construction sites through its training programs provided to emerging builders, contractors and students in the Construction Industry Training Board’s Doorways2Construction program across the state.

The organisation has partnered with groups such as the Master Builders South Australia and the Construction Industry Training Board to create awareness, engagement and industry participation.

Coordinator Dick Olesinski says the Clean Site program was established by KESAB about 18 years ago, in line with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) goal to reduce stormwater pollution and C&D waste.

The not-for-profit program assists the state’s bid to improve diversion and control stockpiles of C&D waste, identified as a major problem by the South Australian Government.

A fact sheet from government agency Green Industries SA (formerly known as Zero Waste SA) showed approximately 1000 houses are demolished in Adelaide each year, and the level of urban decay means this is likely to increase.

Construction and demolition waste contributes to about 40 per cent of all landfill waste, with valuable recyclable items such as timber, bricks, and fittings still being thrown in the dump.

“Because of this, Zero Waste SA came on board to assist us with the education process and funded the program for a number of years which assisted with resource development.

“Currently we’re delivering training in conjunction with the Construction Industry Training Board. There’s a network of about 800 students throughout the state, and we deliver training to all of them. Recycling and resource recovery is a key element of the training delivery and the strategy is trying to capture students and engender some sort of environmental ethic.”

Dick says elective subjects also include focusing on working effectively and sustainably in the construction industry.

However, he notes resource recovery is less of an issue within the commercial sector as it is for the domestic sector.

“On major construction projects, you find there’s half a dozen bins. So there’s a lot of resource recovery already going on there. Domestic builders have not fully begun to comply with environmental standards. If you and your partner want to build a house, you want the cheapest house.

“Here in South Australia, the waste levy is $80 to a tonne. So if you generate eight to 10 tonnes on a two-story build, that’s going to cost you $640 to $800 to get rid of your waste.”

To read more, see page 34 of Issue 11. 

Pictured: Bruce Harris from Bruce Harris Project Management, with Mark Reid, Community Safety Officer Building Site from the City of Charles Sturt.