Building Materials Reuse
“The British construction industry is the largest single sector consumer of resources and producer of waste, annually consuming 400 million tonnes and producing 86.7 million tonnes of waste, almost 40% of the country’s total. This is equivalent of 7 tonnes of material per person; enough for 40, 000 new homes. In addition the industry comprises 19% of our ecological footprint, 23% of our GHG emissions and 30% of all road freight in the UK, whilst the total spend on product and materials is estimated around £30 billion a year.”
From An investigation into the viability of Building Materials Reuse Centres – MSC by Andrew Edwards, Oxford Brookes University.
As the above quote notes the building sector single-handedly creates the largest amount of waste in the country. While figures vary in different countries, these sorts of numbers are not exceptional. In terms of carbon the industry accounts for about 10% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions. The potential to reuse materials in multiple ways is however beginning to be acknowledged and there are a variety of approaches across the mainstream of the industry as well as its forward looking edges, which look as if they are beginning to be taken more seriously.
Building Materials Reuse Centres
Building Materials Reuse Centres (BMRC’s) are a North American import. The centres aim is to reduce the environmental impact of buildings by reusing materials and building products. When buildings are renovated, rebuilt or demolished the place to take the now redundant materials are BMRC’s, so they can continue to be reused rather than head for the tip. Reuse is the other end for materials of a journey that begins with extraction or the first processes of being turned into products/buildings.They continue and extend the lives of these materials and products a number of times.
The Centres (BMRC’s) come in various shapes and sizes but the core idea is common to all, a central hub for building materials, which can be re-used in other buildings. The community version is more established than exemplars for the construction industry; there is indeed much to be learnt from what examples are in place across the community sector in various different countries.
Beyond the simple adaptation of the second hand store, there is the potential of developing integrated networks, which could refine the ecology of building material needs. Even if well developed in the imagination of some BMRC’s theorists, this doesn’t appear to be quite beginning as yet.
Follow these links for examples of Building Materials Reuse and Building Materials Reuse Centres.