The Australian construction industry is one of the country’s biggest contributors to waste and emissions. In 2016-17, construction and demolition waste amounting to 6.7 megatonnes (MT) went into landfills, almost a third of the total waste deposited in landfills during this period across all industries.[1]

As we continue to extract, consume and discard resources at our current pace, our exploitation of Earth’s natural resources is taking us closer to an environmental disaster. This ‘take-make-waste’ approach whereby we extract more natural resources and generate more waste has implications for the future of our planet. We need to change now – what we need is a far-reaching transformation in how we approach the built environment to create a more sustainable future.

Councils, landscape architects and designers are well placed to make a significant positive impact on the Australian construction industry. As key stakeholders responsible for the parks, green spaces and community areas, they must adopt a new approach to landscape design by specifying and sourcing products from suppliers whose values align with sustainable development.

Top 4 benefits of specifying sustainable products

Reduces your impact on the environment

By conserving our finite resources and keeping already made products in use for longer, we can significantly reduce the negative impact of urban development.

Improves the livelihoods of individuals and communities

The current pandemic has underlined the need to prioritise local businesses if we want to build a strong and resilient Australian economy.

Enhances business reputation and demand

Businesses prioritising sustainability have higher acceptability as partners. By putting into practice what your company talks about will ensure your organisation won’t be left behind as preferences change.

Reduces costs over the life of the product or service

Companies often base their purchasing decisions purely on price with disregard for product quality and longevity. The cost to maintain, fix and dispose off cheaper but poorly built products needs to be factored into the equation to determine true value for money. By investing in quality products or services that provide you with more added value across the lifecycle of the product and project, you will save money while also helping to create more sustainable economic activity.

Find out more about the benefits of specifying sustainable products in our new whitepaper, Designing out Waste – Using the Circular Economy to Build Sustainability in Landscape Architecture.

[1] Australian Government. “National Waste Policy 2018.” Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. (accessed 28 February 2021).