Waste: A Continuing Threat to the Environment

Today is Global Recycling Day, an initiative run by the Global Recycling Foundation. The movement is dedicated to recognising the importance of recycling as a resource, not waste.


At some point soon, the natural resources that the Earth yields will run out. That is why we must rethink how and what we throw away – seeing not waste, but opportunity. The signs that drastic action needs to be taken are everywhere. The World Bank warns that global waste is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years. A year spent suffering a global pandemic has also meant increased disposal of Covid-19 related PPE, posing severe challenges to the environment, especially for the planet’s oceans.


It is vital that we recognise recycling as the keystone to a circular economy that it is, helping to protect our natural resources. This year, the Global Recycling Foundation has announced the theme of Global Recycling Day 2021 as #RecyclingHeroes. At Bouygues UK, we are trying to be the best recycling heroes we can be.


In the 2020 reporting period (1 Jan 2020 – 31 Dec 2020), Bouygues UK generated 28,286m3 of total construction and demolition (C&D) waste, equating to a performance of 6.86m3 C&D waste per £100k turnover. We are proud to be able to say that 96% of this 28,286m3 of C&D waste was diverted from landfill. By working with suitable waste contractors who can guarantee a high diversion from landfill rate, Bouygues UK are hoping to increase this percentage to 98% for 2021.


Recently, we have been undertaking trials with ReWorked, an innovative company that uses COVID-19 PPE items to manufacture durable and versatile materials. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bouygues Construction United Kingdom has procured 3 million masks to protect our people in the workplace. With the help of ReWorked, PPE is disposed of in collection boxes and returned via a pre-paid courier to a specialist facility for sterilisation and processing. The waste is then processed into items such as reusable construction site hoarding, office furniture, toilet cubicles, planters, and even dedicated protection boxes (for outdoor use).


Earlier this year, Bouygues UK were awarded a Certificate of Achievement by Community Wood Recycling for diverting more than 10 tonnes of waste wood from our site at Hallsville Quarter. We feel proud to have achieved this statistic via just one of our sites alone and we are continuously striving to avoid sending waste from our sites to landfill. By working with Community Wood Recycling, we are helping not only to save precious resources and keep the environmental impact of our sites to a minimum, but we are also helping to create jobs and training opportunities for disadvantaged local people. The lives of many of these local people have been transformed by their time working with Community Wood Recycling and we are thrilled to play a part in this.