Waste and resource management
We use significant quantities of raw and manufactured construction materials in our construction and maintenance activities. We also purchase large quantities of non construction related goods and services such as computers, printed brochures, uniforms, safety equipment, telecommunications and office equipment.
An important environmental and economic issue for road and maritime construction and maintenance projects is the management of construction materials and wastes.
Transport for NSW's (TfNSW) road project environmental assessment reports include information on the management of excavated soils and other materials.
Options for managing road construction materials are identified using the waste hierarchy, as follows:
- Waste avoidance
- Re-use on site
- Re-use off site
High rates of recycling can be attributed to the reduced construction costs of re-using materials generated on-site compared to the high costs of transporting and disposing of wastes off-site and importing new materials. In addition, over the past three years Transport for NSW has negotiated new resource recovery exemptions with the EPA that helps facilitate the beneficial re-use of road construction materials.
In 2012-13 Transport for NSW purchased approximately:
- 1.1 million tonnes of aggregate for road maintenance and construction
- 275,000 tonnes of asphalt
- consumed 80,000 reams of paper.
Where practical and cost effective, TfNSW uses recycled products and recycles materials. In road maintenance and construction, we already achieve high recycling rates and have exceeded the NSW State Government’s 2014 target recycling rates for construction and demolition waste.
Waste management guide
Transport for NSW is committed to reducing the environmental footprint of its own activities and to complying with its environmental legislative obligations. These commitments extend to the management of wastes from road construction and maintenance activities.
The generation of waste has the potential to cause adverse environmental impacts. These include the pollution of air and water, contamination of land, and the loss of land used for landfill sites.
TfNSW produces significant quantities of wastes from its road construction and maintenance activities. It’s important that these wastes be managed well and in compliance with relevant state legislation.
TfNSW has produced the EMF-WM-GD-0055 Waste management guideline (PDF, 1.93 MB). This guide provides information on TfNSW's requirements for the management of solid and liquid wastes associated with road construction and maintenance works. It has been prepared to:
- assist staff and contractors to determine requirements for the management of TfNSW waste
- provide information on how to comply with reporting and management requirements
- promote reuse of materials and reduction in waste disposed of to landfill
- direct you to where further information and help can be found.
Management of waste on Transport for NSW Services Land
The construction of road projects often requires the use of TfNSW land for ancillary construction activities such as the temporary stockpiling of soils, concrete batching and locating of site sheds. TfNSW land adjacent to road corridors may also be used to construct permanent structures such as visual and noise mounds.
TfNSW has developed a new environmental procedure to minimise the risks of unauthorised construction wastes remaining on TfNSW land following the completion of road construction activities.
The procedure “Management of Wastes" details:
- environmental planning approval processes
- best practices and contingency planning for construction wastes on sites
- proforma pre-construction benchmark site assessments to establish the condition of an RMS site prior to hand over to a construction contractor
- proforma post-construction site condition assessments to verify that no unauthorised wastes remain on a site post construction.
The Government’s waste management focus is to provide a clear and consistent regulatory and policy framework that minimises harm to the environment and delivers greater waste avoidance and resource recovery.
This framework uses a mix of legislative, policy, educative and economic tools to encourage waste avoidance and the further recovery of resources.
Relevant guidance can be found at the following links below:
TfNSW is committed to managing contaminated land in accordance with relevant contaminated land legislation and industry standard best management practices.
As part of this commitment, contaminated land management is incorporated into the planning, design and operation of the NSW State Road network. Appropriate assessment, investigation and management of contaminated land is required for the purchase, management and sale of all land.
Acid Sulphate Materials (ASM) are naturally occurring soils, sediments and rock that are acidic by nature. They contain sulphides, which if exposed to air oxidate and can form sulphuric acid.
Although Acid Sulphate Soils are concentrated in coastal environments, there is potential for other ASM to have widespread distribution in the landscape. If disturbed, all forms of ASM can cause unacceptable environmental impacts, including acidification of waterways, major fish kills, habitat destruction, loss of agricultural productivity, geotechnical instability and corrosion of concrete and steel structures.
Waste fact sheets
In NSW, construction wastes such as soils, asphalt, concrete and steel is regulated by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
To assist TfNSW staff and contractors to understand their waste responsibilities, we have produced a series of waste fact sheets on common road construction and maintenance wastes.
Reuse of waste off-site
Virgin Excavated Natural Material (VENM)
Excavated Natural Material (ENM)
Excavated Public Road Materials
Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP)
Coal Tar Asphalt
Recovered Railway Ballast