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Reuse is defined as the use of products or components more than once for the same, or other purposes, without reprocessing. (ISO 20887, 2020)
The waste hierarchy (below) is a framework which has been used in UK policy and legislation since the 1990s. The concept is simple, setting the order of preference for managing and disposing of waste. Reuse is seen as a waste prevention activity.
Preparing for reuse is checking, cleaning or repairing products or components of products that have become waste to enable them to be reused without any other pre-processing.
Other terms that encompass reuse are remanufacture, refurbishment, repair, and reclamation/salvage. At a building level, the refurbishment of a building is reuse.
Around 60 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste is created annually in the UK. Whilst much of this is recovered and recycled, only a small percentage is reused, even though this sits higher in the waste hierarchy. Material reuse can substantially reduce the need for new products, and their associated embodied carbon emissions. Estimates suggest that 22.3 MtCO2e of GHG emissions could be saved over 9 years by increasing our reuse of construction products.
The campaign builds upon the ASBP-led DISRUPT project, which is exploring the innovative reuse of structural steel in construction through the creation and adoption of new circular business models. Project partners and supporters include reuse stalwarts Cleveland Steel & Tubes, global construction specialist ISG, National Federation of Demolition Contractors, and Grosvenor, the world’s largest privately-owned international property business.
ASBP has been working on the topic of material reuse for nearly 10 years, with past activities including the Re-Fab House feasibility study, research with University of Cambridge identifying the barriers to structural steel reuse, and more recently, a sold-out Reuse Summit.
This previous experience is further enhanced with in-house expertise from Technical Director Dr. Katherine Adams, Circular Economy associate Debbie Ward, and Research Associate Dr. Asselya Katenbayeva, who bring 30+ years of academic and industry-focussed research and development on the topics of waste, reuse and circular economy.
To increase uptake of the reuse of construction products and materials through:
- Practical focus by exploring supply chain barriers and develop solutions
- Open dialogue and sharing of knowledge between reuse material donors/recipients and wider ecosystem to enable greater uptake
- Learn from what others have done to progress quickly (not everyone doing their own research)
Not duplicate with others – joining the dots – highly collaborative
ASBP to relaunch the campaign in September 2023 with the aim of becoming the ‘go-to’ place for practical guidance and information on the reuse of products in construction.
Led by Clients/ Developers – the ask, what do they need to know, involving (where relevant – dependent upon the product selected):
- Real Estate
- Reuse providers
- Waste & Resource management
Benefits of being involved with the Reuse Now campaign include knowledge exchange and learning, thought leadership opportunities and leading by example, being associated with sector best practice, and being able to input into and have access to research and practical outputs to support your organisation – and the industry – to achieve its Circular Economy and Net Zero Carbon targets.
Establish cross-cutting issues to establish and prioritise needs and support the creation of (improved) solutions e.g. storage, material exchanges, insurance, policy etc.
Stakeholder mapping: map reuse activities and stakeholders active in reuse.
Events & social media: to encourage engagement and interaction and to disseminate knowledge gained and lessons learned. Second Reuse Summit event to take place ‘in person’ in October 2023
Website, documents and blogs: augment the current Reuse Now area of the website, signpost to existing information and create new case studies, briefing papers, blogs and guides to share knowledge
and drive impactful action.
Deep Dives: develop a work stream for each identified agreed product (6 months) bringing the supply chain together, prioritise going forward (through survey responses and key sponsor/stakeholder needs) – for example:
- Aluminium panels
- Ceiling tiles
- FF&E/ Furniture
- Fire doors
- Luminaries/light fittings
- Non-structural steel
- Partitioning (glass)
- Raised access flooring (RMF Eco Range)
- Structural steel
- Flooring/carpet tiles
- Sanitary ware
Deep Dive Outputs to include:
- Assessment of barriers and how they can be overcome (linked to enablers)
- Bring together key stakeholders (e.g. insurance, certification bodies, manufacturers etc)
- Research and capture learnings successful precedents -case studies, lessons learned
- Discuss/create short and long terms solutions/interventions for increase in reuse
- Action plans, webinars and summary report
Digital platforms and physical hubs for reuse products
Goods generally ‘for sale’ but sometimes available for free
- Enfield Excess Materials Exchange – For the partners, contractors and consultants of the London Borough of Enfield to pilot an innovative approach to the reuse of materials and to facilitate connections between ‘donor’ and ‘recipient’ construction projects (partnership with Excess Materials Exchange) https://app.excessmaterialsexchange.com/mqUFWBvNwawg/7dlcKxtDyliQ/view/e93a78b6-b5e4-4921-a86c-e9d8216636ee
- Globechain – Online reuse marketplace with ESG data offer, connecting enterprises with non-profits, small businesses and people to redistribute unneeded items. https://globechain.com/
- Enviromate – Free and cheap building materials for construction or DIY projects. https://www.enviromate.co.uk/
- WARP IT – Find, give away, or loan office furniture, equipment and other resources. https://www.warp-it.co.uk/
- Reyooz – Premium office furniture and equipment from corporate clearances including carbon labelling. https://reyooz.com/
- Material Reuse Portal (ReLondon Circuit project) – Material Reuse Portal bringing together construction materials from multiple marketplaces to create a single place where reusable materials can be found. https://materialreuseportal.com/
- HTS Stockmatcher – A free to use selection tool built to assist procurement of reclaimed steel for use in new construction projects. https://stockmatcher.co.uk/
- Circuland (under construction) – Create Materials Passports for new and existing Developments; Easily access robust data for the Materials Stock in the UK; and Connect supply and demand for re-used materials https://circuland.co.uk/
- Circotrade – Trading platform to facilitate and unlock the future value of building’s materials. https://www.circotrade.com/
- Recolight – Platform to promote the donation of new and used lighting products and equipment. https://www.recolight.co.uk/reuse-hub/
- Traco – Clearance, storage and relocation services from one source, enabling goods to remain in use for longer by selling quality used assets. https://recycledassets.co.uk/
- Envirocycle London – Diverts post-consumer carpet tiles from landfill to reuse. After recovery & grading, carpet tiles are then supplied to charities, schools, businesses, contractors & the public for reuse. https://envirocyclelondon.com/
- Ebay – Buy and sell construction materials. https://www.ebay.co.uk/
- A good thing – Donate unwanted items to local charities through an app. https://www.agoodthing.org.uk/
- CollectEco – Collecteco’s mission is simple: to help organisations donate furniture,equipment, and materials to good causes. https://collecteco.co.uk/
- Freegle – Matching things people don’t need with people that need it. https://www.ilovefreegle.org/
- Waste to Wonder – Removal and redistribution if redundant office furniture to charitable causes. https://www.wastetowonder.com/
- Community Wood Recycling Nationwide network of 30 wood recycling social https://communitywoodrecycling.org.uk/
- The Rebuild Site – Taking surplus materials from construction sites and organisations and putting them to good use. rebuildsite.co.uk
- Recipro – Surplus materials store. https://www.recipro-uk.com/ https://www.recipro-uk.com/
- Salvo/ Salvoweb – Comprehensive architectural salvage directory. https://www.salvoweb.com/salvo-directory/category/all/location/uk/region/all
- Carpet Tile Wholesale one of the first companies in the UK to process used carpet tiles and we make sure all our recycled carpet tiles come from carefully selected sites across the UK. https://www.carpettilewholesale.co.uk/all-recycled-carpet-tiles
- CAMA – providing a range of storage, removal and recycling services to businesses in industries such as film and television as well as property and interiors companies. https://cama.co.uk/