New research shows significant carbon and cost benefits of structural steel reuse in the construction industry

A new free-to-download steel reuse ‘toolkit’ has been developed as part of the Innovate UK funded ‘Delivering Innovative Steel ReUse ProjecT‘ (DISRUPT), led by the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP).

Steel is one of the most widely used and resource intensive materials used in construction. Although commonly recycled at end of life, the reuse of steel is minimal despite the apparent environmental, carbon and circular economy benefits.

Scenario mapping conducted as part of the research shows that reclaimed steel has the potential to make significant contributions to our net zero targets, saving up to 250,000+ tonnes of CO2 per year by 2050, in addition to substantial cost savings on construction projects of £40m a year.

Scenario mapping for structural steel reuse (*columns and beams) in 2050

The main purpose of the toolkit is to provide stakeholders from across the supply chain with guidance, case studies and expertise to boost supply and demand of reused steel in the construction industry, and support new market entrants. The toolkit is supported by accompanying guidance notes and policy asks for both Government and industry bodies.

A key element of the toolkit is a set of business considerations and stakeholder checklists to facilitate steel reuse, aimed at demolition contractors, fabricators, stockholders, designers, clients and more, and covering technical, supply chain and economic aspects, as well as potential carbon savings and wider socioeconomic benefits.

10+ new case studies of steel reuse on construction projects have also been developed, showcasing a wide range of project types (residential, industrial and commercial) and sizes (single home refurbishment, office extension, agricultural building and multi-building regeneration project). The case studies delve into the detail of the reuse process with clients and engineers, exploring the key drivers for steel reuse on the project, carbon savings and lessons learned.

New supply chain models are also proposed, advocating alternatives to business as usual (steel recycling) and mapping out practical approaches in which steel reuse can be enabled in practice, either driven by stockholders, clients or a ‘hybrid’ combination of both.

The toolkit is available to download on the ASBP website –

About the DISRUPT project

The project has received funding via Innovate UK’s Circular Economy for SMEs competition, in collaboration with the NICER programme, a four-year £30 million investment from UKRI consisting of one hub and five specialist research centres aiming to grow the circular economy community through a significant programme of outreach and collaboration. The project received a letter of support from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Metal.

The DISRUPT project is led by non-profit sustainability organisation The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP), with project partners including steel reuse experts Cleveland Steel and Tubes Ltd, global construction company ISG and the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC). Supporters of the project include the Grosvenor Group, one of the world’s largest privately-owned international property businesses.

Cleveland Steel and Tubes are one of the largest stockholders of repurposed steel tubes in Europe and have partnered ASBP on a number of circular research projects over the past 10 years, in addition to supporting the ASBP’s Reusable Products and Buildings Network and Reuse Now campaign.

ASBP is pleased to have been awarded funding as part of NICER round 2 to lead the DISRUPT II project alongside Cleveland Steel and Tubes and NFDC. One of the key barriers identified during the DISRUPT project was the lack of steel available for reuse generated from demolition projects. The 18-month project will taking a ‘deep-dive’ into the demolition industry, working closely with demolition contractors to overcome this barrier and unlock a readily available supply of reclaimed steel.

Further information

Richard Broad (DISRUPT Project Manager) for press enquiries –

Katherine Adams (Technical Director) for technical enquiries –

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