Last edited 16 Mar 2023

The use of packaging in the construction industry

Pallet-gd00e04db0 1280.jpg

Packaging is an essential component of the construction industry, protecting goods during transit and ensuring the product remains intact on site.

One of the most common types of packaging is shrink wrap, a plastic film that is wrapped around a product and shrunk using heat. It is commonly used to protect building materials such as timber, metal, and bricks during transit. Shrink wrap is also used to protect products from the elements on site, preventing damage from moisture, dust, and debris.

Another popular packaging solution is corrugated cardboard. Corrugated cardboard is a durable and lightweight material that is ideal for packaging heavy items such as tiles and bathroom fixtures. It is also commonly used to transport smaller construction items such as screws, nails, and bolts.

Wooden crates are also a popular packaging solution in the construction industry. They are commonly used to transport larger items such as windows, doors, and bathroom fittings. Wooden crates provide excellent protection for fragile products, preventing damage during transit.

Plastic packaging is also widely used in the construction industry. Plastic bags are commonly used to store smaller items, while plastic sheeting is used to cover larger items and protect them from the elements. Plastic packaging is also used to wrap pallets, providing a protective barrier during transit.

Whilst not strictly a form of packaging, pallets are widely used for transporting and storing building materials and equipment. They are flat structures, generally made of wood that provide a stable base for stacking and moving goods.

Pallets are often used to transport heavy and bulky items so they can be easily moved using a forklift or pallet jack, which saves time and reduces the risk of injury.

They are also used for storing building materials on construction sites. This allows materials to be stored off the ground and helps to keep them dry and free from debris. Storing materials on pallets also makes it easier to organise and locate them when needed.

The amount of waste produced by packaging in the UK construction industry is significant. However, it is difficult to provide an exact figure as the waste generated can vary depending on the materials used, the size and weight of the product being packaged, and the disposal methods used.

According to a report by the UK Green Building Council, the construction and demolition sector generates approximately 120 million tonnes of waste each year, with packaging accounting for a significant proportion of this waste. They also suggest the construction industry is responsible for approximately 32% of all waste sent to landfill in the UK. This waste includes packaging materials such as plastic bags, shrink wrap, cardboard boxes, and wooden pallets.

The 1996 Finance Act introduced a tax on waste disposal on all landfill sites registered in the UK.

For more information see: Landfill tax.

Partly as a result of this, the construction industry has made significant progress in recent years in reducing the amount of waste generated by packaging. Many companies in the industry have implemented recycling and waste reduction schemes, and there has been a shift towards the use of more sustainable and eco-friendly packaging materials. For example, some companies have started using biodegradable packaging materials such as biodegradable plastics and compostable paper products. Others have implemented closed-loop systems where packaging materials are reused or recycled within the supply chain.

A site waste management plan (SWMP) can be prepared before construction begins, describing how materials will be managed efficiently and disposed of legally during the construction of the works, and explaining how the re-use and recycling of materials will be maximised.

For more information see: Site waste management plan.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings


[edit] To make a comment about this article, or to suggest changes, click 'Add a comment' above. Separate your comments from any existing comments by inserting a horizontal line.

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again