New Auckland house builds could create 2.1m tonnes of waste
As Auckland struggles with a housing crisis and the subsequent scramble to build enough homes at an affordable price, there's a hidden cost.
An average house build in New Zealand creates up to five tonnes of waste. Auckland Council wants 422,000 new homes built in the city by 2040 - that's up to 2.1 million tonnes of construction rubbish adding to rubbish going into landfills around the region.
New Zealanders put approximately 3.3 million tonnes of rubbish into landfills over the past year, and about a quarter of it was from construction and demolition, says resource efficiency expert Dr Jeff Seadon.
According to Recycle.co.nz, given current population trends and without more intervention, the annual amount of waste going into the ground in Auckland will almost double within 10 years.
That amount could grow faster as developers hurry to build more houses, but there are a number of businesses trying to deal with construction waste:
Steve Fowler, director of sustainable architecture at Macrennie Construction, says the impetus to recycle is up to the customer leading the construction project.
"There is a minimal drive from clients," he says. "It is moving but not fast enough."
Mr Fowler says the expense of dealing with construction and demolition waste is a significant factor for many companies. "It's a competitive market, and the cost of waste minimisation is a big challenge."