Circular driven economy is essential to ensure greater UK economic resilience

Construction and recycling company the Sheehan Group has appealed to the industry to embrace the Circular Driven Economy movement to ensure greater UK economic resilience.

As the UK construction and waste recycling industries re-build as lockdown measures continue to ease the Sheehan Group have highlighted circular driven practices as a solution to greater sustainability. It is encouraging contractors to source local products and supplies to reduce the UK’s over reliance on global supply chains, improve the environment and support local jobs. Research has found between 8 and 20 are created per thousand tonnes of unwanted products that are re-manufactured, compared to 5 to 10 jobs for recycling and just 0.1 jobs per thousand products sent to landfill.

Tara Sheehan, finance director of the Oxford based Sheehan Group, outlined the benefits of the business approach when she appeared on a CDE Global Engineering Insights panel online this week. The virtual panel discussed construction and demolition and excavation waste recycling. 

Tara Sheehan said: “The UK construction industry has been impacted by not just lockdown measures, but also by an over-reliance on the global supply chain. This has been demonstrated by many contractors struggling to obtain materials. The circular economy is a concept in which materials are produced to be constantly recycled or re-used locally. Covid-19 and the associated challenges demonstrates how powerful the circular economy concept can be in aiding economic recovery.

“If multiple industries embraced its core principle of keeping resources in use for as long as possible it would help make the UK market more self-sufficient, protect the environment and jobs.”

According to the EU Construction and Demolition Waste Management Protocol (Sept 2016), based on volume, construction and demolition (C&D) waste is the largest waste stream in the EU; it represents about one-third of all waste produced.

The Sheehan Group have a water treatment facility which is used to wash construction and demolition waste, destined for landfill, turning it into reusable aggregate. Since 2012 it has saved 775,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste from landfill, by reprocessing it into recycled aggregates. The 775,000 tonnes saved is the equivalent of 1,700 Boeing 747 planes at maximum take-off weight. Half of the recycled material is used in its own construction projects and the rest is sold to contractors.

The Sheehan Group also recently announced a record volume of low carbon recycled concrete blocks produced in the last 12 months, all containing a minimum of 75% recycled and secondary aggregates that are environmentally engineered to meet UK and European technical standards.

Tara Sheehan added: “As an industry we now have a massive opportunity for positive change by re-building intelligently via sustainable practices. If it is embraced by governments and businesses the positive impact will be significant, combining economic regeneration, improved societies, and a better climate for future generations to enjoy.”

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