Steve Bennett, Managing Director at Dura Products, discusses the benefits of innovating with recycled materials.
Since 2003, Dura Products has been providing solutions for clients that recognise the need to reduce environmental impact and innovate. Its kerb and drainage products made from recycled materials are simple but revolutionary, offering lower-carbon outputs and improved end-of-life potential; each unit can be reused, can be recycled again or allows for carbon recovery.
The technical elements of creating products from recycled materials continue to be challenging but essential if we are to drive change. Choosing products with a high recycled content obviously reduces waste, but it also creates a sustained demand for recycled material that drives innovation – so not only is more material recycled in terms of volume, but in variety too. For example, waste low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from bottles were two of the few things that used to be recycled. Due to improvements in the waste industry and processing, it can now be a mix of recycled polymers with some polyprop, as long as there are the same chemical properties within the bulk material. Flexibles could be margarine tubs, post-consumer packaging or post-agricultural polymers. Due to increased interest pushing up demand for recycled plastics, we are now recycling what was at one time considered unrecyclable.
This leads to the other significant challenge with new products – compliance. Road and pavement engineering compliance is set out in the Manual for Contract Documents for Highway Works (MCHW), and everything must go through a rigorous process before it can be adopted. In addition, the BBA HAPAS scheme is the vital first step to demonstrating suitability. After a 12-month period of testing and research, Dura Products was awarded its first certification, and in 2008 its first departure on a Highways Agency Highway Project.
BBA Certification isn’t just a rubber stamp – it includes ongoing site surveillance, production processes, management of material sourcing and material properties. The certificate, renewed every four years, remains in force from that date until standards can be revised. The recent inclusion of polymeric kerbs within the MCHW has led to BBA Certification and confirms these recycled products as standard.
Combined kerb and drainage systems are covered by a much higher attested standard (BS EN 1433), and demonstrating compliance with the standard is the only requirement for use. The primary mark for proof of compliance with BS EN 1433 is the CE mark.
The recycled materials are lightweight – this has given Durakerb a unique selling point (USP), offering the market alternative products and systems with a reduced environmental impact. Reducing weight by as much as 90% means a considerable carbon reduction in transport to and around sites. An independent study showed an average reduction of CO2 by 50% compared with traditional kerbing.
When it comes to end-of-life and reuse, the kerbs can be broken away with a JCB. The concrete is removed and then it can be simply reused. For recycling, once it’s taken out and made safe for transport, Durakerb can arrange collection where it will be washed, reprocessed and remade. Alternatively, it can be disposed of in the project’s own plastic recycling strategy or sent to an EFW (a facility where non-recyclable waste is burned, with the resulting steam powering a turbine, which generates electricity) to recover the carbon.
These products are designed with longevity and reusability at their heart. It’s all about future-proofing the construction industry and minimising our impact.
Find out more about Durakerb at durakerb.co.uk