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A Perfect Partnership

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Recycling & Waste

Hanson UK’s agreement with Welsh local authority to turn road spoil into new asphalt benefits both parties

The use of recycled and secondary aggregates in the UK is increasing as the construction industry seeks to become more sustainable. Hanson UK are working to enhance their materials efficiency, which includes reducing their use of primary materials and maximizing their use of recycled materials.

In a new recycling partnership with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, the company is working with the local authority to turn its road spoil into new asphalt. The partnership – the first of its kind for Hanson in Wales – is helping the council’s sustainability objectives by increasing its recycling level and supporting its aim of reducing waste and minimizing the use of virgin material.

‘The partnership came about through working with Darren Chaffe from the authority’s highway maintenance team on its resurfacing contract,’ said Kerry Minahan, Hanson’s sales manager for the area, who worked on putting together the agreement.

‘The Welsh Assembly Government was putting pressure on the council to recycle and reuse its road planings and we stepped in to help them turn as much of their road spoil as possible into new surfacing material.’

Now, Hanson are kept informed of the council’s resurfacing programme and are involved in the logistical discussions that take place between the highways maintenance team and the contractor.

The company collects the worn-out road surface as it is removed and takes it away for processing. More than 2,000 tonnes of the council’s planings have already been screened and crushed down to a diameter of less than 8mm.

This fine mixture of aggregate, sand and bitumen is then transferred to the asphalt plant at Hanson’s Penderyn Quarry, which has been specifically designed and built to incorporate recycled planings. Here, it passes through the recycling bin before going into the vertical elevator to the hopper, from which the correct amount of recycled material is discharged into the mixer and combined with virgin aggregate, filler and bitumen to produce high-quality asphalt.

‘At present, the asphalt supplied back to the council contains 10% recycled material, but tests are under way to try to increase this to 20% this year, with a further increase in 2011,’ said Kerry Minahan. ‘We are also looking to re-crush the material that doesn’t make the specification first time around, to improve the amount we can recycle.

‘As well as helping the council with its recycling levels, it also takes these planings out of the fill market, which is a benefit to us, because we can supply low-grade aggregates for these projects.

‘It is proving to be very successful and we are looking to establish similar initiatives with other local authorities in the area. We hope that if we have enough planings available, we will be able to use the processed material in all of the asphalt produced at Penderyn Quarry.’

David Holman, Hanson’s national recycling manager, who also worked on the agreement, said: ‘This is another good example of working to understand the customer’s needs and then focusing on giving greater beneficial use of their waste with an improved recycling target.’

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