Construction Waste: It Pays to Recycle

We believe there is a social responsibility to fully explore the repurposing of the buildings we live and work in, bringing new life to old in the process, and reducing the amount of captured carbon that is released from their demolition.

With repurposing, there is the potential for huge volumes of construction and demolition waste, as redevelopment works take place.

Governments can only go so far in imposing environmental rules and regulations to control rising stockpiles of waste and encourage the use of recycled materials in the place of natural resources. The rest is up to us – experienced operators who take our responsibilities seriously and judiciously.

We must adopt a responsible approach to effective recycling through investment in strategies which demonstrably reduce the impact of our work on the environment, now and well into the future.

This is something we recognise and lies at the heart of our decision to appoint Ultimate Group as our contractor. Their ethos is aligned with our own in ensuring the redevelopment of Portland House is done sustainably and that all efforts are made to recycle waste. Today, most waste can be reprocessed into an almost infinite array of new materials to meet new applications and alternative purposes.

As the transformation of Portland House draws to close in the coming weeks, a glance at Ultimate’s recycling report shows the different materials that have been removed from Portland House as part of the refurbishment and how they have been deposited. More than 150 tonnes of bricks, rubble, concrete, glass and lights have been removed from the site, with over 97% of this waste material effectively recycled and less than 3% sent to landfill. These are market leading figures, that reflect the premium we place on planned and demonstrable waste management in construction.

It’s easy to see that bricks, concrete and wood, amongst other waste from redevelopment projects such as Portland House, can be sold directly to enterprising operators or repurposed to create new construction products or pumped into energy production. Recycling also saves on disposal and landfill fees as well as the purchasing of new materials in some instances.

Often, it can be more effective to recondition and repurpose elements of a building – treating corroded steel or damaged wood as opposed to replacing it, for instance – than installing new ones. Being a business that acts responsibly over recycling is not only good for image; it’s good for business too – the potential to save money is compelling.

Recycling, which reduces the consumption of natural resources, also considerably decreases energy usage. The cost to produce and transport new products falls, while CO2 emissions generated by manufacturing processes also plummets in a world desperately seeking ever more innovative ways to achieve a net zero carbon future by 2050. Research reveals that recycling can save huge amounts of energy and drastically cut carbon emissions.

As the option to send millions of tonnes of waste annually to landfill becomes less and less viable, we need to find alternative means of dealing with construction waste. Repurposing waste and transforming it into something fresh for future use is one way forward. It’s clear that as we approach the opening of the new-look Portland House, the role recycling has played in its transformation continues to be incredibly important from both an environmental and economic standpoint.

There’s no easy fix when it comes to recycling construction waste, and businesses will incur costs when adopting more environmentally friendly operations, but those that invest in new thinking, fresh approaches and out of box thinking will benefit from cost-effective, long term recycling solutions that really deliver across so many levels.