Reducing our carbon footprint this National Recycling Week

22 September 2020

It’s estimated that the UK construction industry uses a whopping 400 million tonnes of material each year and produces 1000 million tonnes of waste, 25 million tonnes of which are destined for landfill.* This National Recycling Week, we thought we’d outline how Howard Civil Engineering are committed to doing our part in helping to curb the amount of waste sent to landfill from our offices and sites.

In our head offices, we practice the belief that reducing our usage of paper and single-use plastics is of greater benefit to the environment than recycling these items. The remaining waste that is produced from our offices is actively diverted from landfill, with non-recyclable waste incinerated and successfully converted into energy.

Our team members, subcontractors and visitors are encouraged to segregate their waste for recycling, and where possible we source reused materials and aggregates for construction from our preferred local supplier, Blue Phoenix. Blue Phoenix work alongside two Energy From Waste Plants in Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire, to repurpose the incinerator bottom ash aggregate ready for use on construction sites. This type of aggregate is 20% lighter than conventional aggregates, which helps Howard Civil Engineering reduce our vehicle fuel usage and machinery fuel usage by approximately 20%, and has been used on multiple sites including Greengates Junction Improvement Scheme, City Fields and Eden Boys School.  

Left: City Fields, Wakefield. Right: Greengates Junction Improvement Scheme, Bradford. 

Members of the Howard Civil Engineering team were also happy to build brand new playground equipment for Crossflatts Primary School in Bradford with used materials from our sites last month! In addition to custom-built water walls and balance beams, Howard Civil Engineering also built a wendy home, a wildlife hotel, and a mud pit for the children to enjoy upon their return to school.

Pre-construction coordinator and community liaison officer Sophie Henderson commented: ‘We were approached by a member of Crossflatts Primary School and asked if we would like to donate any used materials. After a brief discussion with our operations teams, we instead agreed to go one step further and collaborate with staff members at the school to build them the equipment they needed.’

Most importantly, Howard Civil Engineering have recently made the decision to recycle all wood used at our Greengates Junction site. Since we commenced operations on this site in July 2020, we have successfully diverted a whopping 2.94 tonnes of wood otherwise destined for landfill and instead sent this material to Leeds Wood Recycling. Leeds Wood Recycling is a fantastic local social enterprise that reuses, repurposes, and recycles 100% off the wood collected in addition to offering practical volunteer and training opportunities to marginalised people in West Yorkshire!

‘As a company, Howard Civil Engineering are very conscious that the construction industry produces a vast amount of waste,’ said Sophie. ‘Although we are a relatively small company, we recognise that even the smallest business is able to make a positive change. With this in mind we have created a comprehensive waste management policy and, where practical, have adopted the reduce, re-use and recycle initiative both in our offices and on site. We aim to divert as much waste as we can away from landfill and repurpose materials where possible. I am proud to confirm we have been successful in the regard that none of our office waste is sent to landfill, site waste is segregated properly, and we are actively recycling wood used on our sites.’


*Source: WRAP.

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