According to the United Nations Environment Programme, construction and demolition (C&D) are responsible for 36% of waste generated worldwide. In the EU alone, 821 million tonnes of C&D waste were generated in 2012. To reduce the amount of marmoleum and project vinyl off-cuts waste, Forbo Flooring Systems recently launched its “back to the floor” programme. The first successful take-back of waste flooring products took place in St. Luke’s Hospital.
Several tonnes of marmoleum and project vinyl off-cuts were collected from St. Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny City and sent back to Forbo Flooring in the UK for recycling back into new flooring products.
Midland Tile Merchants installed 5,500 m² of flooring at a new extension of the existing 1940’s hospital, over a period of ten months. The waste off-cuts were stored in bulk bags at their large warehouse before being sent back to the UK on organised vanloads. The hospital provides acute healthcare services to the people of Carlow and Kilkenny. The €25 million extension includes new A&E, Oncology and Hepatology facilities, plus a Day Services Unit and associated offices. It was completed in early 2015.
Recycling waste materials where possible was part of the flooring contract specification, as Declan Lough, Director at Midland Tile Merchants explains: “Details about Back to the Floor in a Forbo mailshot caught my attention as we were negotiating the hospital contract. We had to make sure recycling could happen, so it all fell into place. The timing was perfect and we became the first company in Ireland to sign up to the scheme.”
Fitters and cleaners working on the project were given colour coded polythene bags and instructed on where to place the offcuts correctly.
“It took some organisation and education to make sure the right off-cuts were in the right bags,” says Declan, “but we’ve proved it can work.” Recycling the off-cuts, versus sending them to landfill at €350 per tonne, has, he says, ‘delivered a clear saving on disposal costs’.
For Paul Carney, Managing Director of Forbo Flooring Ireland, getting the scheme underway was a priority on receiving Midland Tile Merchants’ enquiry. “We were delighted when they joined the scheme. As their experience demonstrates, collectors can make valuable savings on disposal costs and the materials can be readily recycled back into new products. “It’s a great environmental story and one which we hope will inspire others here to come on board,” he adds.
Back to the Floor Scheme Co-ordinator, Michelle Brewer says five bulk bags of marmoleum off-cuts and one bulk bag of project vinyl were collected from Midland Tile Merchants in February, adding. “We’re delighted to welcome them on board and hope their success story will encourage even more flooring professionals in Ireland to join Back to the Floor.”
Elsewhere in Ireland, customers can drop off marmoleum off-cuts free of charge at Contract Flooring Supplies in Dublin. Direct collections from contractors’ premises can also be arranged for larger volumes of flooring off-cuts.
Forbo off-cuts, as well as project vinyl flooring off-cuts from most manufacturers, are recycled back into new flooring products across the company’s portfolio. The scheme offers both environmental and economic benefits for participants through diversion of waste material from landfill and preservation of raw material resources for use in new products.
Ways to reduce construction and demolition waste will be extensively discussed at Re-Source 2018 conference on 21st June.