Problem Addressed

There is currently a lack of awareness of and access to construction materials that are ready to be reused in the UK. The purpose of encouraging reuse is to reduce reliance on virgin materials which can significantly reduce the carbon emissions of projects. For example, it has been found reusing old bricks can result in 95 times lower carbon emissions compared to using new bricks (Henning Larsen).

Solution overview

Material reuse is a recognised method of tackling waste and carbon emissions, so many locations have a number of independently operating online and offline platforms to facilitate material exchange. These might be operated by private or public sector organisations and operate using a variety of business models. This is not ideal from a user perspective as the required materials are likely dispersed over the platforms, making discovering and acquiring the necessary items difficult, requiring multiple accounts or searches. The Material Reuse Portal is a proof-of-concept platform that uses an ‘aggregator’ approach to simplify the process of finding new materials for projects. In addition, users can find places to list their own materials after deconstruction as well as finding best practice and service providers that might support the reuse journey. Due to the approach used, the Portal can be developed over time to include new material data sources when they become available. It is also set up to be adapted for different locations using the same underlying architecture.

Data is collected that can indicate material ‘demand’, based on the search terms used and how the site is navigated, meanwhile data on ‘supply’ of materials, based on the number of items listed across platforms is also recorded.

The Material Reuse Portal is free to use.

Case study

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