Talking Rubbish Blog

"Where did all that school demolition waste go when they the stimulus package?? Destroying to rebuild??"

Attending a state primary school recently the grounds were a mass of skip bins, jack hammers and ripped up hard surfaces. The concrete paths and asphalt play areas are to be replaced by brick paving! (courtesy of the Federal government stimulus monies) All the mixed demolished materials are to be landfilled.

This is not an unfamiliar sight (site), and sadly sits alongside a stated core school value of ‘sustainability’.

When are our plans for rejuvenation and makeovers, matched with responsibility for the materials blithely binned for landfill in the process? Can we justify the pretty results without including the waste produced and the energy expended to produce the new materials, into the sustainability equations?

Cries of ‘it costs too much to separate materials for recycling’, ‘labour costs’, ‘not enough room for extra bins’.   Maybe it is only when we actually include the true cost of not reusing this material or indeed not replacing the concrete and asphalt at all, will we understand ‘holistic sustainability’.

There are options to reuse and recycle construction waste. The market for these materials can be serviced whenever the decision is made to use a recycled product.

The spending opportunities for schools coming from the stimulus package produced a flurry of ideas and possibilities. But without the accompanying responsibility to audit the waste trail these projects could produce, we do not address the schools’ ‘sustainability’ pledge.

The waste and sustainability education needed for the policy makers and decision takers is enormous.

Come on all ‘parents and friends’ on school committees, draw attention to our inconsistencies and let our school administration know we are aware.

What do you think?   Do you agree or disagree?

22 Aug 2011 12:01 AM  /  Peg Davies  / audit, construction, destroy, landfill, materials, school, stimulus, sustainability, waste  /  3 comments


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