Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions, a specialist business within the global Balfour Beatty Group, has formed a new closed loop recycling scheme with Centriforce and V10 Polymers.

Believed to be a first for waste management in the utilities industry, the scheme allows for waste plastic collected from up to 100 of Balfour Beatty’s sites throughout the UK to be recycled into cable protection covers for use during the company’s essential work in replacing and maintaining vital utility assets.

The waste management scheme sets an important example of environmental best practice by achieving a true ‘closed loop’ in which Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions keeps complete control of its plastics waste stream and accepts it back as a usable product.

“We are not aware of any other UK construction company achieving this closed loop,” said Simon Carroll, Managing Director of Centriforce, whose innovations team helped to initiate the service. It is estimated that between 150 and 200 tonnes of waste plastic could be collected annually and turned into a range of products for Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions. This amounts to an estimated carbon saving of between 2,000 and 2,500 tonnes across the process of manufacturing new products, through landfill avoidance and the reduced need for virgin raw materials*.

Andrew Edlin, Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions’ General Manager Environment and Sustainability, commented on the scheme: “This project is a fantastic demonstration of our 2020 Vision for sustainability, showing innovative work with our supply chain, preventing waste to landfill, utilising recycled products and reducing the carbon impacts of what we do with our clients.”

The project was co-ordinated by the company’s materials and equipment buying team, who set out to investigate recycling waste plastic into products for re-use in the business. A key objective was also to identify opportunities to eliminate disposal costs and generate revenue by selling plastic waste to specialist collection firms. “Our research quickly established that there were very few UK companies with the capabilities we required. However plastic waste reprocessor V10 Polymers was already undertaking plastic waste collections from some of our sites and Centriforce was already a major supplier of cable protection covers for BBUSL.” said Jade Lawton, a Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions’ buyer.

Centriforce’s innovation team then worked with Balfour Beatty to advise on the establishment of the national closed loop scheme.

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions site personnel alert V10 to collect mixed plastic waste from site within a maximum of 48 hours. It is then transported to V10’s Blackburn reprocessing centre, where it is sorted, cleaned and granulated. The resulting HDPE/LDPE waste plastic feedstock is then delivered to Centriforce’s Liverpool manufacturing centre. From this feedstock, Centriforce manufactures Stokbord® heavy-duty protection tiles which are used widely throughout the world to protect underground utilities such as high-voltage power lines, fibre optic cables, and gas and water pipes.

Case Study Info

Client: Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions
Project: Closed Loop Recycling – Construction Industry

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