The UK Government’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has launched a new voluntary scheme to halve the amount of waste produced by the UK construction industry by 2012.

While the group believes the construction industry has made “significant progress” on waste reduction, WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin says change will only happen with “collective action” from the whole supply chain.

The construction industry, responsible for one third of all waste produced, must lead the way for other businesses to follow, according to the UK Government’s Construction Minister Ian Pearson.

“There are sound environmental, corporate and financial reasons for committing to halve construction waste to landfill, but more needs to be done if the industry is to succeed in collectively halving its waste to landfill by the 2012 benchmark,” he said.

Builders and contractors who have signed up to the agreement include The Berkeley Group, Bovis Lend Lease, Laing O’Rourke and Willmott Dixon.

The construction sector wastes £1.5bn in unused materials, made up of excessive materials ordered during construction, according to WRAP.

WRAP was set up to help businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more.

By Ozge Ibrahim