Have we really reached peak recycling?

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There is no significant disagreement on the need to take a cleaner, greener and more sustainable approach to construction and civil engineering. Aggregates have played a key role in this, with recycled crushed rock, sand and gravel, made from construction and demolition (C&D) waste forming the core of the industry’s integration of recycled materials.

Has the sector hit a hard upper limit, though? Earlier this year, The Construction Index reported that some suppliers claimed the UK was reaching “peak recycling”. “The vast majority of reusable materials are now being put back into use in construction,” it said, referring to statistics drawn from a 2020 report.

There is a positive side to this story: 62 million tonnes, accounting for 28% of aggregates for construction, came from recycled and secondary sources, the report said. This put the industry in pole position when it comes to recycling, reusing more material than any other sector in the economy.

Throughout the first half of 2022, demand for aggregates has remained strong, with crushed rock sales, driven in part by road improvement schemes, “comfortably above” pre-pandemic levels, for instance. Figures for the second half of the year, when they are published, will certainly be interesting, but there is no reason to expect any decline in demand.

The circular economy

At Tyrone International, ultimately we are agnostic on the question of which source of aggregates any project makes use of: our plant equipment is suitable for processing, cleaning and sorting both recycled and virgin materials. Nonetheless, we believe that recycled aggregates have a great future ahead of them in both Britain and the world and support increasing their use in place of virgin materials.

In truth, construction in Britain is already well on the way to the circular economy and with a C&D waste recovery rate of 93% for non-hazardous material it is worth asking how much more material is there to recycle? Nevertheless, progress is always worth celebrating, and the UK has certainly made great strides in the use of recycled materials.

Talk to us

Tyrone International is on a mission to accelerate the circular economy movement, which is why we offer a full suite of modular and full turnkey services to provide all your equipment needs from initial feed right through to water treatment plant and filter press. 

To find out how Tyrone International’s game-changing approach to washing plant can transform your operations by increasing productivity and lowering total cost of ownership get in touch.

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