Resource recovery – a waste of time?

Over the summer, I’ve been providing interim cover on a largish site for a couple of days a week. In the two days this week, I became aware of an issue with lost resources – hired-in tower scaffold components that had been dismantled, and pretty much lost around the site, for which the contractor was facing a potential bill of around £3000. So while I was doing my normal day-job of keeping an eye on everything, I began to keep half-an-eye open for the missing bits … and started spotting them in stray corners and buried under rubbish and other materials. So, as I hate the idea of these bits ending up in a skip in the last few days as the site was crash-cleared, I grabbed the component list and started to collect them together and drop them back into a storage unit. And over a couple of days, I recovered all but one component, with the final collection looking like this:

Tower scaffoldSo, was it worth it? In my mind yes, most definitely:

  • I managed to recover about a tonne of high quality aluminium tower scaffold components and get them back into productive use. (To be fair, the site would probably have done this anyway, provided they didn’t run out of time at the end of the job!)
  • This avoided about a tonne of aluminium entering the scrap metal market and being recycled, with the energy and emissions associated with this process
  • By recovering the original components, we avoided the hire company having to replace them, with all the manufacturing impacts associated with this process
  • And finally – it avoided the penalty charge to the contractor of at least 10x the cost of my time (probably less than half a day in total) to find them and get them back into the contractor’s control.
  • (Oh, and it was pretty good exercise too …!!)

OK, it’s not the normal day-job of a site Environmental Manager, but on the other hand, why not?


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