Waste effectiveness of the construction industry: Understanding the impediments and requisites for improvements

Saheed O. Ajayi, Lukumon O. Oyedele, Muhammad Bilal, Olugbenga O. Akinade, Hafiz A. Alaka, Hakeem A. Owolabi, Kabir O. Kadiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Construction industry contributes a large portion of waste to landfill, which in turns results in environmental pollution and CO2 emission. Despite the adoption of several waste management strategies, waste reduction to landfill continues seeming an insurmountable challenge. This paper explores factors impeding the effectiveness of existing waste management strategies, as well as strategies for reducing waste intensiveness of the construction industry. Drawing on series of semi structured focus group discussions with experts from the UK leading construction companies, this paper combines phenomenological approach with a critical review and analysis of extant literatures. Five broad categories of factors and practices are responsible for ineffectiveness of construction and demolition waste management strategies, which subsequently results in waste intensiveness of the industry. These include end of pipe treatment of waste, externality and incompatibility of waste management tools with design tools, atomism of waste management strategies, perceived or unexpected high cost of waste management, and culture of waste behaviour within the industry. To reduce waste intensiveness of the construction industry, the study suggests that six factors are requisites. These are tackling of waste at design stage, whole life waste consideration, compliance of waste management solutions with BIM, cheaper cost of waste management practice, increased stringency of waste management legislation and fiscal policies, and research and enlightenment. The proposed strategies are not only important for achieving low waste construction projects, they are important for reducing waste intensiveness of the construction. Implementation of the suggested measures would drive waste management practices within the construction industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-112
Number of pages12
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Early online date6 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Resources, Conservation and Recycling. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Resources, Conservation and Recycling, [102, (2015)] DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2016.10.040

© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


  • BIM
  • Construction waste
  • Effective waste management
  • Landfill
  • Reuse and recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics

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