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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Sheehan Group call for circular economy action plan

Sheehan Group recycling plant

Company says circular driven economy in construction is key to post COVID-19 UK recovery and job creation 

THE Sheehan Group have urged companies in the wider construction sector to embrace the circular driven economy movement to ensure greater UK economic resilience. 

As the UK building and waste-recycling industries look to rebuild as lockdown measures continue to ease, Sheehan have highlighted circular driven practices as a key solution to greater sustainability. The Oxford-based recycling firm is encouraging SMEs and contractors to source local products and supplies to reduce the UK’s over-reliance on global supply chains, thereby improving the environment and supporting local jobs. 

According to Sheehan, research has found between 8 to 20 jobs are created per thousand tonnes of unwanted products that are remanufactured, compared with 5 to 10 jobs for recycling and just 0.1 jobs per thousand products sent to landfill.

Tara Sheehan, finance director of Sheehan, outlined the benefits of the business approach when she took part in a CDE Global Engineering Insights online panel online last month. The virtual panel discussed construction, demolition and excavation waste-recycling.

Ms Sheehan commented: ‘The UK construction industry has been impacted by not just lockdown measures, but also by an over-reliance on the global supply chain. This has been demonstrated by many contractors struggling to obtain materials. 

‘The circular economy is a concept in which materials are produced to be constantly recycled or reused locally. COVID-19 and the associated challenges demonstrates how powerful the circular economy concept can be in aiding economic recovery.

‘If multiple industries embraced the core principle of keeping resources in use for as long as possible it would help make the UK market more self-sufficient whilst protecting the environment and jobs.’

According to the EU Construction and Demolition Waste Management Protocol; construction and demolition (C&D) waste is the largest waste stream in the UK, representing around one-third of all waste materials produced. 

Since 2012, Sheehan have been operating a CDE wet-processing plant at their Dix Pit recycling site. The water-treatment facility has saved around 775,000 tonnes of C&D waste going to landfill, by reprocessing it into high-value recycled aggregate which is either sold to contractors or used in Sheehan’s own construction projects. 

The company also recently announced a record volume of low carbon recycled concrete blocks produced in the last 12 months, all containing a minimum of 75% recycled and secondary aggregates that are environmentally engineered to meet UK and European technical standards.

Ms Sheehan concluded: ‘As an industry we now have a massive opportunity for positive change by rebuilding intelligently via sustainable practices. If it is embraced by the Government and businesses the positive impact will be significant, combining economic regeneration, improved societies and a better climate for future generations to enjoy.’

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