London funds massive building waste reuse centre

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) is to plough £0.5m into a social enterprise that will collect unwanted construction materials from building sites and sell them on to the public and trade.

The project, led by charity BioRegional, will be based in Croydon.

While it may superficially seem like an old idea that has been given a fresh breath of life – reclamation yards are common enough – City Hall says there are some fundamental differences.

For starters, this centre will not be about Victorian fire places and antique baths; it’s not about high end, big ticket objects reclaimed from demolition sites.

Instead, it is about saving building materials that would otherwise find their way to landfill sites or, at best, be crushed and re-used as aggregates.

City Hall told edie that much of what will be on sale will never have been used before and will come from new-build sites where materials are left over at the end of the job.

Often in such cases the excess materials would simply be skipped, but the project hopes to identify sites where they can be found and will send teams round collect the would-be waste.

Construction companies wanting to donate their waste a worthy cause can contact the centre at [email protected]

James Cleverly, chair of the London Waste and Recycling Board said: “Last year London created a massive 9.7million tonnes of construction and demolition waste.

“Around half of this was recycled but there is still much more we need to do to tackle the rest which largely ends up dumped in landfill sites.

“This innovative project ticks all our boxes – reusing waste, cutting emissions and bringing jobs and real social benefits to the capital.”

Commenting on the funding, Jonathan Essex, reclaimed materials manager at BioRegional said: “We are thrilled that LWARB has supported our new joint social enterprise selling used but still useful construction materials – helping to address market failure in the reuse sector.

“Reuse high up the waste hierarchy and vital if we want to tackle the massive 25 million tonnes of construction, demolition and excavation waste sent to landfill each year.

“It will also create training opportunities, equipping Londoners with the skills to make the city a greener, better place.”

The scheme is modelled on a similar centre in Madison County, Alabama, that has been running successfully for several years.

Sam Bond

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