The ZAP project, funded by the Ecosurety Exploration Fund, was launched by the Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASBP) to help reduce the quantity of avoidable packaging plastic waste in construction, much of which is not recycled.
The construction industry as a sector is the second-highest consumer of plastics. Approximately 55,000 tonnes of plastic waste come from UK construction sites every year, of which it is estimated 35,000 tonnes is packaging. Less than half of this plastic packaging is sent for recycling with the majority being sent to landfill or incineration for energy recovery.
Addressing the problem
To combat this issue, the ZAP project aims to help generate a better understanding of and reduce packaging waste, minimise contamination of materials collected for recycling and explore end-of-life scenarios and innovative solutions.
ZAP project partners include ASPB, Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), award-winning architects Cullinan Studio and leading construction firms Mace and Morgan Sindall. BOST and Cullinan studio recently worked alongside the ZAP project to use the redevelopment of the Marlborough Sports Garden in London as a case study. This helped to understand how to efficiently design a space which minimises packaging waste during construction and operation.
The ZAP toolkit – Developing scalable solutions
The ZAP project has now launched a toolkit outlining key findings from the project. It has one pagers, checklists and case studies aimed at the whole supply chain, including clients, designers, contractors and manufacturers. The toolkit was developed by key stakeholders from across the supply chain, and outlines the key barriers found and explores practical, scalable solutions.
Larry Tate, ZAP Project Manager and ASBP Projects and Communications Coordinator says:
“The toolkit is designed to be an interactive, easily digestible set of short guidance notes relevant to industries across the sector. This includes ‘one-pagers’, top tips, and real-world examples and case studies. Practical tools are included to aid the industry in taking further steps in first reducing packaging waste, as well as identifying reuse opportunities and increasing recycling and recycled content. Importantly, this toolkit offers solutions which aim to divert the tide of construction packaging waste that still goes to landfill or incineration”.
Gareth Morton, who manages the Ecosurety Exploration Fund, says: "We are thrilled to see the learnings of the ZAP project being openly shared and hope it will inspire the construction sector to take action and reduce its plastic packaging waste."