Designing to encourage waste minimisation in the construction industry

The process of waste minimisation through ‘designing out waste’ is in its infancy. Many barriers and opportunities exist in developing waste minimisation strategies in design. The paper will summarise the initial findings of the authors’ recent research. It is intended to stimulate thought into the concept of designing out waste. By outlining the causative factors of waste through design and the principle strategies for waste reduction, the paper highlights the present status of this important subject and question whether adequate emphasis is being put on the initial stages of the waste hierarchy – reduce, reuse, recycle. The paper introduces the various options for waste minimisation in design, including designing for recycling, extended life, disassembly and designing out waste. It concludes by highlighting the links between ‘designing out waste’ and the future waste management and recycling industries, indicating where opportunities may exist.