Alternative Raw Materials for Construction

Partners: International Synergies


The application of industrial symbiosis breaks down traditional sector boundaries, enabling companies from different industries to work together.  This is increasingly important for the construction industry as it opens up opportunities to source alternative raw materials that can be reused in construction over and above recycled or secondary aggregates. 

International Synergies was tasked by Innovate UK to evaluate the use of Environment Agency data (which had been traditionally collected for enforcement purposes) in order to identify waste streams that had the potential to be used as low-cost, low-carbon, alternative raw materials for major infrastructure and construction projects.  


The project found that 700,000** tonnes of construction and demolition waste was being recovered for reuse within the industry each year.   However, by mapping wastes and by-products generated by other industry sectors and including materials such as plastics and/or wood, International Synergies identified a potential pot of over 17 million tonnes of alternative raw materials generated each year that was available for reuse by the construction industry. 

If the construction industry were to widen its approach to reusing surplus resource streams generated by other industries as well as its own, it would result in a dramatic reduction in the industry’s reliance on primary resources and significantly reduce its carbon emissions.

**Only relates to material moved under Duty of Care requirements and does not include material covered by Waste Exemption Notices.