Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Reuse it don't loose it

reuseitdontloseit.co.uk, Newhaven East Sussex

The urge to re-use building materials is nothing new - the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII provided every village with a ready-made supply of high-quality stone - but it assumes fresh urgency in a credit crunch.

The husband and wife team of Daniel and Charis Hill have set up Tiger Enterprise. The firm differs from most architectural salvage firms in that it rescues new building materials rather than period features. Therefore, reusing materials that would have been written off as waste and gone straight to landfill, they are also helping builders to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

“People can check out what we have on the website and we do sell stuff on eBay,” Daniel Hill says. “But most people come to the yard. These could be a DIY dad who wants a few bricks to build a barbecue in the garden or a builder who wants a few thousand for a garage extension. We also have new sanitary-ware - toilets, baths, sinks, Butler sinks - gates, timber both new and recycled, as well as all sorts of roof tiles.”

Tiger is able to thrive because builders routinely buy more materials than they need. “It is far cheaper for the builder to over-order than to run out during a project,” explains Hill, who has a BSc in construction management from London South Bank University. “When I was working for my father in his development business I began to notice just how much stuff was being chucked away. It really was staggering. The building industry in the UK produces an estimated 90million tonnes of unwanted building materials, of which about a third ends up in landfill.

"In the South East, as much as 20 per cent of new building materials ends up not being used. Developers, of course, pay for this to be taken away. I thought that here was a very lucrative opportunity, to re-use this waste and in doing so reduce the carbon footprint. So far this year we have diverted more than 600 tonnes of re-usable, unwanted but new building materials from landfill and saved 320 tonnes of carbon dioxide.”

The Hills' first yard for storing the materials was half a back garden that they rented for £20 a week, but they soon moved to an industrial estate in Newhaven, East Sussex. The business is growing so rapidly that they are now in the process of moving to a much bigger site in Brighton. When this move is completed, all the materials in the yard will be bar-coded and the details logged on a computer for ease of identification and distribution. For small and medium building sites, the company limits its free take-away service to within a ten-mile radius of Brighton and Newhaven. But the Hills have been negotiating with bigger housebuilding companies such as Berkeley Homes and Kier Construction, which does contract work for East Sussex County Council. These businesses are very supportive of the ethos behind Tiger Enterprise and are proud to display the certificates that they are awarded by the company showing that they are recycling their waste - albeit new building material - in an environmentally friendly way.

Reuse it don't loose it

Times Online

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