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Greening construction waste: Sustainable interventions create a social impact

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ENCORE ENVIRONMENT’S ethos, from its inception, was to challenge the traditional routes of construction waste disposal and motivate the doyens of the industry to think differently about waste. In an industry that is notoriously slow to embrace change, Encore has had to be a disruptor and innovator to challenge the status quo and demonstrate that responsible waste management can be the catalyst for positive change.

At a fundamental level, it has strived to reduce the number of skips on the road, not a goal for traditional waste companies providing services where the mantra ‘heavier the skip, the more the turnover’ approach, has dominated for decades.

With the focus now on ESG and net zero targets, the tide has turned, and strategic senior levels are shouting out for value and a point of difference. This is where Encore has had incredible foresight.

Rachel Rowley (pictured above), managing director at Encore Environment, says: “Over the years, we have developed a range of sustainable interventions that puts environmental and social value at the heart of business practices, not to bypass procurement, but to provide the construction sector with sustainable choices that reduce waste, reduce carbon and enrich local communities.”

Encore launched Project DIVERT in 2018 to identify reusable materials from construction sites and then facilitate the connection between those reusable items and local VCSE organisations that need them. In the last year, it has helped over 100 charities and community organisations save an estimated £60k in not having to purchase those items, as well as stopping 100 tonnes of waste heading to landfill, and saving companies around 30% on waste costs.

“It’s a win-win scenario,” says Rachel “where environmental responsibility and community support go hand in hand. Why wouldn’t you? We are now expanding into the FM sector due to demand.”

Project DIVERT has had a positive impact on many VCSE organisations across Milton Keynes. Ashe Construction’s refurbishment project at MK College identified a substantial amount of furniture which was successfully diverted to Return MK, a charity that provides a music, multimedia and life-skills to young people and MK Centre for Integrated Living, an information centre for disability related issues. In addition, reusable carpet tiles have been diverted from a fit-out project led by ISG, to Help our Homeless in Milton Keynes, and Willen Hospice.

To expand Encore’s commitment to a greener future, Encore recognised the value of aligning sustainability best practice to the education of our next generations. Waste Wise Kids, a non-profit, was launched in 2019, to support primary schools in teaching children about waste and sustainability.

“With no set environmental subjects on the curriculum, it provides teachers with a comprehensive resource written by waste management experts and primary school leaders,” explains Rachel. “It is fun, engaging but importantly teaches the children long skills in making sustainable choices!”

With a business membership opportunity, Encore seeks the backing of like-minded businesses as a great way engage with their local communities and make a difference. There are now over 1,200 Waste Wise Kids including schools in Milton Keynes, with so much more planned in the future.

Find out more at encore-environment.com

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