Forum Posts

Spencer Sampson
Feb 20, 2022
In Final Submissions
The Problem The construction industry still uses antiquated paper-based systems to track goods, leading to around 60% of materials being incorrectly input (1). Over-ordering is also common-place to ensure sufficient supply. Consequently, on average 13% of all materials delivered to a construction site go unused (2), usually ending up as part of the 26% of landfill caused by the construction industry (3). Our Proposal A community-driven online platform facilitating the re-use of excess materials, helping to cultivate circular economic approaches within the construction industry. The Process To ensure safe and fair use of the platform, users must complete a health and safety course and accept relevant agreements upon creating an account. Suppliers can post items using a materials list and photos, adding specific details such as location, material condition, optional proof of purchase, and a collection deadline.​ Buyers will be able to sign up on behalf of schools, community groups or charities, who can then use the materials in order to run workshops, develop shared spaces, or work on sustainable projects such as composters or planters. In the future the app could be expanded to a wider range of users​ . Once a listing is made, local users will be notified based on alerts they have set up. These can either be manually input for specific materials or created using pre-made lists that show requirements for a range of projects.​  With these pre-made project ideas, if certain materials are available but not others then the app will show nearby stores selling the remaining materials, calculating the total savings from using the app. Customers will be responsible for transport, reducing the costs for the supplier. However, buyers will be encouraged to source locally to reduce associated emissions. Opportunities to misuse the application are minimized through only allowing registered groups to join the system. Why will the System be Used? Savings on the cost of disposal (currently averaging £270/tonne for commercial entities (4)) will provide incentive for companies to use the app. Moreover, by supporting local charity/community projects, firms can achieve their corporate social responsibility goals. Partnerships can be formed with local schools to run engaging STEM workshops, inspiring future generations and ensuring materials have a potential home. Costs for charities/community groups will be reduced, potentially allowing them to pursue ideas that would otherwise not be financially viable. Simultaneously, projects’ carbon footprints will be lower, through both sourcing locally and minimizing waste sent to landfill. Given 10 million tonnes of viable materials are disposed of annually in the UK alone (2), if the app only diverted 1% of this its impact would be significant. If successful within the UK, the model can be translated to other countries to fit the needs and waste profile of that nation's construction sector. ​This would be achieved through co-design with industry and community leaders in target nations, widening the scope of the project.​ Re-Construct hence has the potential to establish a viable circular economic approach to building materials, contributing towards UN SDGs 12 and 13.   Sources: 1 = Woollacott, Emma. The big problem of building waste and how to tackle it. bbc.co.uk. [Online] September 16, 2021. [Cited: February 20, 2022.] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57899572. 2 = Udeaja, C., Ekundayo, D., Zhou, L., & Perera, S. Material waste in the construction industry : a review of the legislative and supply chain issues, in Reuse of by-products and materials in the construction industry. Manchester : Springer, 2013. doi : https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4471-5376-4_2 3 = Designing Buildings Ltd. Construction waste. designingbuildings.co.uk. [Online] Designing Buildings Ltd., January 10, 2022. [Cited: February 20, 2022.] https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Construction_waste. 4 = Cook, Scarlett. Waste disposal prices 2022. startups.co.uk. [Online] January 24, 2022. [Cited: February 20, 2022.] https://startups.co.uk/premises/waste/waste-disposal-prices/.
D22-014 - Re-Construct : an App to help Reclaim Construction Waste content media
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Spencer Sampson
Feb 11, 2022
In Concept Notes Workspace
Our concept is to develop a community-driven online service to facilitate the re-use of viable excess construction materials that would otherwise go to landfill. The Problem: The construction industry produces a substantial amount of waste; 13% of all products that are sent to construction sites are left unused according to the Technology Strategy Board, often being sent to landfill. This waste constitutes around 32% of landfills sites on average, producing significant environmental harm both from the site itself and the carbon footprint of the products being disposed of. The Solution: To combat this, we propose an online platform that connects construction companies with local community groups and charities to avoid such unnecessary waste. The potential recipients of the unused materials can post a request for certain products and their location, which can then be seen by companies who want to offload specific items. Similarly, companies will also be able to do the same for items they wish to dispose of. The system will only be available for registered charities, education providers, and community groups that can prove their legitimacy to avoid issues with miss-use. Material distribution and use can be achieved in a variety of ways, for example: Individuals who have a project in mind Small groups looking to improve social/community spaces Working with local schools to provide workshops to students, introducing them to STEM and positive environmental practices Local craftspeople/carpenters may use to create reclaimed furniture, (possible proceeds to charity etc.?) Why will companies choose this over disposal? Construction firms spend around £270 a tonne to dispose of waste. This, coupled with the opportunity to use the scheme for corporate social responsibility, will incentivise companies to use the platform. #Sustainability #ClimateChange #Recycle
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