Materials exchange map

Contractors who have unused construction material left over at the end of a project now have a new place to advertise it rather than sending to landfill.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has developed a mapping tool – the Materials Exchange Platform (MEP) map – to help find a home for surplus materials and reduce waste.

The MEP Map was developed through a collaboration of the school’s industry partners, including BAM, Berkeley Group, Canary Wharf Contractors, Kier, John Sisk, National Grid, Reconomy and Skanska.

The mapping tool gives access to a network of Materials Exchange Platforms nationally, allowing the user to compare those in their local or regional areas. As well as saving disposal costs, and potentially generating income, the tool aids local businesses and smaller contractors, by offering them access to quality materials at a lower cost, or even for free.

Mark Turner who is from the Supply Chain Sustainability School said: “While materials exchange platforms are not new, they are sadly very much underused. We hope that by providing this interactive map to our 37,000 online members, and indeed the whole industry, we can more easily access the platforms that exist across the UK, to ensure less unused or over-ordered materials end up in a landfill”.

Matt Nichols, Reconomy director, who is chair of the school’s waste and resource efficiency group said: “Awareness of the importance of a circular economy – based on the principles of designing out waste and ensuring that we efficiently use all the products and materials that we buy – is definitely gathering pace.

“The MEP Map performs the crucial task of connecting those with excess materials and products to those who can make good use of them, therefore reducing the volume of waste we send to landfill”.

In its latest published statistics on waste, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) reported that the UK generated 66.2 million tonnes of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste in 2016 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). It is also estimated by Zero Waste Scotland that 13% of raw materials are discarded unused.

Access to the MEP Map is free, through a free membership of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, which anyone can join: