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  • According to the UK Green Building Council around 400 million tonnes of materials are used by the UK construction industry each year, and approximately 100 million tonnes becomes waste.  

  • WRAP a number of authorities have set a minimum standard of 10-15% value of materials used in construction must be derive from recycled or re-used content in the materials selected actual performance is frequently higher.

  • In 2015 as a result of a lack of further government funding WRAP decided to exit the built environment as a priority sector.
  • In 2013 the total consumption of all materials in the UK amounts to 659.1 million tonnes per year, this equates to 10.3 tonnes per person. Of this figure 420 million tonnes are used in construction every year, or 7 tonnes per person. (greenspec.co.uk)
  • Construction materials account for 20% of the UK’s ecological footprint; 19% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and 30% of all UK freight transport.
  • The production and transportation of construction materials are estimated to use 6% of UK energy.
  • For each tonne of concrete used from virgin stock 134.8kg CO2 is released into the atmosphere.
  • The largest component of construction minerals are aggregates, principally crushed rock (limestone, igneous rock and sandstone) and sand and gravel. Other minerals used in construction are clay, chalk and limestone for cement making, brick clay, gypsum, slate and building stone.
  • In the UK, aggregates make up over 50% of construction materials.
  • In 2014, some 210million tonnes of minerals were extracted in the UK, of this 175.9 million tonnes (83.8%) were construction materials.
  • Having been introduced in 2002 at £1.60 per tonne, the aggregate levy has since increased to £2 per tonne and has been at £2 per tonne since 2009.
  • The UK construction industry is responsible for 32% of landfill waste. A further 29% of waste to landfill is generated by mining and quarrying. (WRAP)
  • Recycled and secondary aggregates supply over 25% of the UK’s requirement. (mineralsuk.com)
  • The recovery rate from non-hazardous construction and demolition waste in the UK in 2012 was 86.5 per cent. There is an EU target for the UK to recover at least 70 per cent of this type of waste by 2020.
  • The Olympic Delivery Authority achieved a figure of 98% of construction waste diverted from landfill and reused or recycled the material instead during the construction of the Olympic site. (Theiet.org).
  • Since April 2008 as part of the Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008, it was a legal requirement that a construction project in England worth more than £300,000 must have a Site Waste Management Plan. When the cost of the project increased over £500,000 additional information was required by this regulation. However, from December 2013.
  • Formerly a national regulation within the UK, Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) are no longer compulsory, however they are now recognised by the majority of the construction industry as a means to improve resource efficiency and save on construction costs. Many Local Planning authorities still have a local requirement for SWMPs and the use of effective plans are incorporated into construction management standards.
  • The focus of these plans is to eliminate waste through better and more efficient use of materials, through improved design and construction techniques.
UK consumption of construction resources 2007
Material Vol (000 tonnes)
 Clay 5,752
 Concrete products    62,343
 Insulation 655
 Other cement 18,902
 Plastic 771
 Raw materials 277,300
 Rubber 168
 Slate    156.5
 Steel 3,120
 Timber 6,511
 TOTAL 375,678.5

Source: AMA Research & BRE: Evidence gaps for construction products, materials and waste data, 2007.

 

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