Reuse center for building material
About this good practice
For a long time, there has been various initiatives to recycle different materials either so that it can be used directly without any processing or to be used for new products. Efforts to recycle building materials and to sell them to new customers have proven to be a challenge. However, this initiative has successfully created a local market for the reuse of these materials. The store, which is open to the public. Prices are about 30 % compared to new price. There is a balance today between the materials received and the request from customers, but the potential is much bigger than today. To make better use of the potential, better collaboration with local construction companies is required. In addition to the center, where there's also a possibility for individuals and enterprises to leave their building material, there is another station in a bigger city nearby where materials can be dropped. The public enterprise responsible for the reuse center is owned by both these two municipalities. The first stop a visitor at the bigger city´s recycling station arrive to, is a station where he may drop materials to be sent to the reuse center. An advisor at the station help to figure out whether something can be reused or not. The second stop after that is a station where different materials are separated in various fractions e.g. plastics and left for reprocessing to new products or for combustion.
The day-to-day workassignments are carried out by participants in the labor market project. Resources are requiered for transportations and premises for the store. Incomes from the sale of the reused material covers the costs for transportations and premises.
Evidence of success
Individuals and enterprises leave their building materials at the reuse stations and customers buy the materials. Hence, the initiative has successfully created a local market for these products. The reuse center is run by unemployed in a labor market project. The varied tasks make different skills visible and many of those who have participated have been offered jobs by private enterprises. Beside the environmental success, it´s also proven to be socially sustainable.
Potential for learning or transfer
The potential for similar initiatives are hugh throughout Europe. Building materials have no tradition to get reused. However this good practise show that it is possible to create a second hand market for the materials. The receiving stations need to be clean and taking care of. In addition to an environmental sustainability initiativ, it is also to be seen as a social business. The replication potential is high, but a key is that it is managed in a serious way. Analyzes of climate impact of the construction process relative to usage in a dwelling indicates that the climate impact is as large in the construction of a building as in the building’s operation for a period of 50 years of usage. Hence reusing a product saves significant volumes of energy and allows the energy contained in the material to be maintained locally. As so, building material reuse projects empower decision-makers and communities, it increases local autonomy.