Building materials, materials that are often thrown away in the recycling bin, can be a valuable resource for businesses.
A new survey of UK buildings and the recycling industry has found that the number of buildings that are reusing materials like glass and aluminium has risen from 6% to 17%.
“The UK has one of the highest rates of recycling of building materials,” said Tom Biddle, managing director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Unused Materials.
“The most common building material we recycle is glass, aluminium and concrete, but we’re also seeing a surge in building materials that have been thrown away.”
The survey found that a quarter of UK properties were being recycled from their previous owner and an additional 15% were recycled as scrap, including scrap glass, scrap materials and plastic.
The survey also found that around 70% of buildings in the UK had used at least one material from the building supply chain.
A quarter of properties that were recycled from the previous owner were in use as offices or retail spaces.
The Royal Society said that the recycling sector is a good place to start, as building materials can be used in many ways and can be recycled at any stage of the construction process.
“As a general rule, building materials are not necessarily recycled when they are not needed.
However, when they’re recycled, they can be reused or used in new projects and in new materials,” Mr Biddle said.
A further 5% of the buildings that were surveyed were being reused as offices, apartments or homes.
This was also the case in the Midlands, where an additional 10% of properties were reusing as office space.
The recycling industry also provides an opportunity for businesses to reuse existing building materials.
“We’ve seen a real shift in the last year in how businesses can reuse building materials in their buildings,” said Mr Biddles.
“Companies are now starting to recycle materials that were previously discarded by a building or office.
This will increase the supply of building and office supplies.”
Reusing materials can also help businesses that have an old supply chain or have lost money because of the closure of a manufacturing or logistics facility.
“There are opportunities for businesses with old supplies to re-use materials to help increase their supply chains and to reduce their costs,” Mr Firth said.
The UK recycling industry is growing but businesses are finding it difficult to keep up with demand.
The National Waste & Recycling Strategy 2017 aims to reduce waste in the future by encouraging businesses to recycle and reusing building materials to minimise environmental impact.
“Recycling is the future,” Mr O’Connell said.
“What we’re seeing is the recycling of materials from the supply chain into new products, such as new products for use in new products.”