CALA Homes: Midlands region

0% Reduction

Improved segregation resulted in an 8% reduction in waste tonnages per plot

0% Cost saving

Improved segregation assisted a 19% cost saving per plot in waste tonnages per plot

0 Housebuilding sites

Reconomy reduced waste costs across 11 housebuilding sites

Initial Challenges

For over 30 years, CALA Homes has built a reputation for delivering striking new homes, which combine traditional design features with contemporary home comforts. In December 2015, CALA Homes’ Midlands region entered a partnership agreement with Reconomy to reduce waste costs across its 11 housebuilding sites. Despite initial enthusiasm, the first six months of the partnership saw waste costs continue to rise, with neither Reconomy nor CALA Homes Midlands happy with the progress made. These difficulties were primarily due to the lack of a standardised approach, resulting in some sites utilising large roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) containers to dispose of all types of waste.

Already an expensive option, the use of mixed waste RoRos actively encouraged a care-free attitude to waste among trades by limiting opportunities for onsite recycling and reuse. This resulted in a significant amount of crosscontaminated waste leaving some sites, including hazardous waste materials, which further increased disposal costs.

Back to basics

In hindsight, a much tighter control of each site’s service ordering processes was needed from the outset. In July 2016, this was corrected when Reconomy and CALA Homes Midlands agreed to relaunch the partnership with a new focus on back-to-basics waste management. This standardised the practices of all 11 sites and removed the ability for sites to order large mixed waste containers through Reconomy.

To improve segregation, all 11 sites implemented Reconomy’s standardised blueprint for an on-site waste compound area. This created a central location from where all waste could be managed, with designated skips assigned to core waste streams such as plasterboard, timber and light mixed waste. Reconomy also deployed a standardised hazardous waste station at each site, allowing for the safe and compliant disposal of items including paint tins, mastic tubes and aerosols.


Site Support

To oversee these processes, Reconomy’s team of Site Liaison Officers (SLOs) increased the regularity of their site visits from quarterly to bi-monthly. During each visit, the SLO carried out toolbox talks with trades to underline the practical and financial benefits of segregating waste correctly. They also gave guidance on best practice techniques for skip loading. A host of other waste minimisation recommendations were also made, such as the stockpiling of brick and block for reuse instead of it being disposed of in skips.

The segregation of waste at source was also encouraged by colourcoding all mini-tippers used to transport waste to each site’s compound area. In addition, Reconomy’s SLOs helped to stop the misuse of CALA Homes Midlands’ skips by identifying that some third-parties were using them to dispose of their own waste rather than removing it themselves, as per their contracts.

Changing Attitudes

Within three months of the back-to-basics campaign launch, attitudes to on-site waste were completely transformed. A common misconception among site managers had been that waste disposal costs were derived solely from the upfront hiring cost of a skip or container. Reconomy changed these attitudes by demonstrating the longerterm financial saving that were achievable by separating waste and making it easier to recycle.

Site managers have subsequently begun enforcing a zero-tolerance approach to poor segregation practices by carrying out regular inspections of their mini-tippers and skips themselves. They are also utilising the Reconomy Portal to keep a close eye on tonnages, segregation levels and landfill diversion rates.

Achieving Results

Prior to the partnership relaunch, CALA Homes Midlands was one of the poorest performing regions for waste disposal, primarily because of the amount of unsegregated waste leaving site each month. From January to July 2016, an average of 107.5 tonnes of mixed waste was being generated each month. Following the relaunch, this fell to an average of 39.5 tonnes between August and December 2016, significantly boosting recycling levels and saving almost £12,000 in disposal costs. By February 2017, mixed waste levels had fallen to zero.

Analysis of the region’s waste costs and tonnages per plot in July 2017, compared with the previous year, revealed there had been an 8% reduction in tonnages and a 19% reduction in costs – equivalent to a saving of over £250 per plot. Landfill diversion for CALA Homes Midlands is now an impressive 94% and new waste minimisation projects and trials are regularly being introduced.

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