What’s in your skip?

On-site skips deal with two kinds of waste:

  • Construction and demolition waste; and
  • General waste (which means everything else)

But what happens to skip waste when bins are removed from a work site? Ardea Waste spoke with skip providers in the Perth metropolitan area and regionally to look at whether skips are the best way to deal with waste and what happens when they leave a work site.

Construction waste – Metro

Dwayne Rapley from Cleanaway says that at least 80 % of construction waste they collect in the metro area is recycled. Cleanaway take construction and demolition waste to third-party material recovery facilities around the city where the waste is sorted, and materials recovered. General waste not readily recycled is sent to landfill. Contamination problems occur primarily from organic materials such as food and green waste as well as hazardous waste streams like asbestos, tyres, and batteries.

In some cases, food and green waste in a skip will mean an additional fee, but that depends on which recovery facility is doing the sorting. Any skip with asbestos contamination will be sent directly to a landfill licensed to accept it, and the landfill levy will be charged for the entire skip. Asbestos contamination in a skip full of heavy materials will be expensive (the landfill levy is charged by the tonne).

A dedicated Asbestos waste skip is unlikely to incur levy charges. Waste asbestos products such as asbestos sheeting, fence panels or lagging are exempt from the landfill levy, but mixed materials are not exempt.

Jake Hickey from Instant Waste Management estimates that between 80 and 90 % of construction waste can be recovered at a range of Instant Waste recovery facilities and depots between Bunbury and the Northwest, and higher than 95% recovery rates are possible in the metro area. Instant Waste Management’s facilities are licensed to receive more than 1.8 million tonnes of construction waste per year and process around one third of all construction waste in Western Australia. Approximately 65% of this waste (by weight) is concrete, bricks, and sand.

Other than choosing the right waste provider, Jake says that better on-site skip placement to avoid windblown waste is another good way to make sure you are doing the right thing with your waste as local governments issue fines for messy waste stockpiles.

General waste – Metro

Some recycling is possible for general waste skips in the metro area depending on where the skip is processed. All waste in the metro area attracts a landfill levy charge of $70 per tonne (before transport and gate fees), so unless your skip provider is separating heavy construction items, you may be paying more for tipping costs than you need to.

Construction waste/general waste – Regions

Skip providers we spoke to in regional areas separate some of the more obvious waste streams like metals and wood; the rest is disposed of in a landfill. The level of service changes between providers; some are expanding their separation services to increase recovery (such as Hastie Waste in Bunbury) while others are taking all skip waste to landfill. Regional businesses using skips will need to ask each provider about their waste recovery practices if you are looking for good waste outcomes.

Get smarter with your general waste:

•    Front-lift general waste bins are a good value option for lightweight general waste on-site but be sure to size them correctly. Every time the bin is emptied, you’ll pay for the size of bin you have, not the amount of waste in the bin. Use the smallest bin and the lowest number of collections you can get away with to make savings.

•    If you’re generating small amounts of general waste and lunch-room waste on site, consider taking your own bins when you set up then take them with you back to your depot for your regular collection. You’ll save on delivery, collection and regular bin collection charges but only if you are making these trips anyway. Be sure to check your obligations concerning controlled waste if you are transporting your own waste between sites.