International Recycling Delegates visit the Sheehan Group to explore benefits of recovered CDW materials

Construction and recycling company the Sheehan Group hosted a contingent of recycling leaders as part of a two-day international conference.

More than 100 delegates of the Circular Economy Symposium visited the Sheehan Group’s Oxford based waste washing plant to witness the circular economy business model in action. Visitors from countries including India, America, Norway, France and Ireland were in attendance. The Circular Driven Economy Symposium saw the construction and recycling industry gather and explore topics including legislation, opportunities for recovered materials, urban construction challenges, barriers to re-use and advanced recycling models.

Delegates were informed the construction industry is facing a growing global sand crisis. Sand as a natural resource is running out and the Circular Economy Symposium was told it has led to organised gangs stealing sand from public beaches in developing nations. Industry leaders said it highlighted the importance of recycling construction waste and the circular economy.

Tara Sheehan, Finance Director of the Sheehan Group said: “The circular economy is a concept in which materials are produced to be constantly recycled or re-used. It is growing industry and crucial to sustainability of the planet. It is incumbent on us all to ensure we extract maximum value from resources and preserve natural resources. We were shocked to learn of the extent of the global sand crisis at the conference and it has strengthened our belief in the importance of the circular economy. We were proud to show so many respected colleagues from the global recycling industry around the plant and demonstrate what is being achieved in the sector in the UK.”

Chris Sheehan, Managing Director of the Sheehan Group added: “We installed the CDE recycling plant five years ago and it has enabled us to take greater control of our business and integrate our recycled products into construction products. We can make concrete blocks and ready-mixed concrete using recycled sand and aggregates which were formerly waste materials. Re-using waste in construction and using it locally is critical to increasing the success of a circular driven economy. With stronger commitment it can become the heartbeat of sustainability in the UK.”

The CDE water treatment facility is used to wash construction and demolition waste, destined for landfill, turning it into reusable aggregate. In the past five years the Sheehan Group have saved 500,000 tonnes of waste from UK landfill sites via its plant. Half of the recycled material is used in its own construction projects and the rest is sold to contractors.

The Circular Driven Economy Symposium was established by a group of international organisations working across policy, research, materials processing and end-use applications, with a focus on optimising the value from CDW materials. The EU Commission is delivering ambitious measures to cut resource use, reduce waste and boost recycling and the drive towards a Circular Economy model.

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