We are all encouraged to recycle in our homes and from; plastic bottles, cans, newspapers and glass bottles we all have the ability to assist in cutting down on the excessive amount of landfill waste we collectively create. We are all reassured we are making a difference to the environment from our small contribution.
We all have access to places to put our collective waste, we can go to our local supermarkets and find places to put our old cartons, glass bottles and old newspapers. We can also visit our local waste disposal point and throw our old rubbish into large skips, safe in the knowledge it will be recycled.
What about recycling on an industrial scale, especially within the building sector? Have you ever wondered what happens to recycling within the building industry, where does concrete, steel, wood and general building waste go? As more buildings are left derelict and we all look to renovate old buildings there is an overwhelming opportunity to re-use a diverse range of recycled aggregates.
The sector is under increased pressure to reduce their impact on the environment with over 64% of waste in the United Kingdom accountable to industry; trades such as concreting, plastering, tiling and insulation produce the most in terms of general waste; currently over 15% heading to landfill.
Looking to reuse recycled aggregates has the huge potential to effect the amount of building waste we send to landfill. Aggregates such as concrete has the largest and immediate opportunity to be re-used.
Using specific engineering techniques concrete is often crushed into rubble or gravel to be used again in construction. Concrete is used in most buildings, for both new homes and homes looking to be renovated. If the industrial sector can reduce their reliance on this product by looking for alternatives the longterm effects will be huge for our environment.
Other materials such as sand, gravel and stone all have the ability to be used again, for many companies huge cost savings can be made in sourcing aggregates that have been used previously. The quality of the recycled materials is not effected and many companies will put it through a quality check to ensure it is of the highest quality.
For example HBM (Hydrologically bond material) is made from recycled aggregates was recently used in the construction and surfacing of a long term airport car park, it saved 50% of the materials going to landfill. The Foambase material was made up of 94% reusable materials and used only 20% of the energy compared to traditional asphalt manufacture.
In this instance, due to the material being reused on site, construction traffic was kept to a minimum which helped save on air pollution within the local area. It also saved over 500 lorry loads of materials going to landfill. This is just one example of how industry can effect our environmental footprint in one location of the UK.
Interestingly Foambase material has been used globally since the 1950’s; mainly predominant in Canada, America and Australia. These countries realised the benefits of recycled materials to not only save money but to lessen the impact on the surrounding and global environment.
There are many companies who now offer the chance to source recycled aggregates, many will offer high quality and approved re usable materials. It is always an idea to see what approved accreditation the companies offer as well as checking their quality check procedure. As we all start to realise the impact the building industry can have on our environment, hopefully more and more companies will look to reusable materials for their building projects.