Construction waste consists of unwanted material produced directly or incidentally by the construction or industries. This includes building materials such as insulation, nails, electrical wiring, and rebar, as well as waste originating from site preparation such as dredging materials, tree stumps, and rubble. Construction waste may contain lead, asbestos, or other hazardous substances. See COSHH
Much building waste is made up of materials such as bricks, concrete and wood damaged or unused for various reasons during construction. Observational research has shown that this can be as high as 10 to 15% of the materials that go into a building, a much higher percentage than the 2.5-5% usually assumed by quantity surveyors and the construction industry. Since considerable variability exists between construction sites, there is much opportunity for reducing this waste.
There is the potential to recycle many elements of construction waste. Often roll-off containers are used to transport the waste. Rubble can be crushed and reused in construction projects. Waste wood can also be recovered and recycled.
In England all personnel performing builders or construction waste clearance are required by law to be working for a CIS registered business.
Government or local authorities often make rules about how much waste should be sorted before it is hauled away to landfills or other waste treatment facilities. Some hazardous materials may not be moved, before the authorities have ascertained that safety guidelines and restrictions have been followed. Among their concerns would be the proper handling and disposal of such toxic elements as lead, asbestos or radioactive materials.
In Kuwait, The Ministry of Finance granted a BOT (Build Operate and Transfer) contract to the Environmental Preservation Industries Company to build the first construction waste recycle plant in the middle east with a daily production of 2,500 tonnes. The government pays tipping fee to the company for waste removal as an incentive to relieve the stress on the environment. The construction waste is recycled to several sizes of gravels that can be reused in construction beside the screened sand can be used in ancillary construction uses.