SME's Can Play a Major Role in Increasing the use of RSA
Research commissioned by WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme) has identified two key issues which, if addressed, could help increase the use of recycled and secondary aggregates (RSA) amongst small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the construction sector.
The first issue is the widely held belief amongst SMEs that you cannot use RSA on work for public sector or other major clients such as city councils or utility companies. The second is the lack of confidence amongst SMEs in their ability to suggest the use of RSA to clients, or to persuade a client to overcome their reservations to RSA use.
The research also found that, while the majority of SMEs were using RSA and were aware of local suppliers, they were limiting their application to low grade fills and cost savings were their main reason for buying.
“There are a large number of SMEs operating in the construction sector which could play a major role in helping achieve greater materials resource efficiency, through the use of recycled and secondary aggregates instead of primary aggregates,” said John Barritt, Aggregates Technical Advisor for WRAP.
“It was important to commission this research to help us better understand the factors influencing SMEs’ decision making around the use of RSA. We now have clear evidence of the obstacles hindering greater RSA use and, more importantly, can now develop practical solutions to address the issues identified.
“Our next step will be to tackle these issues from both sides. We will look into methods of providing direct evidence from clients and main contractors that they have an active preference for using RSA on their projects and that it is possible to persuade them to accept RSA use where not originally specified. At the same time, we will also be investigating how we can provide additional tools to help SMEs gain greater confidence in sustainable aggregates and encourage their clients to use them.”
Conducted by Databuild, the research involved telephone screening interviews with over 400 potential RSA users, drawn from a database of small and medium size construction firms. The screening identified a representative sample of organisations which were both users and non-users of RSA. Focus groups and qualitative face-to-face and telephone interviews were then carried out with these organisations to determine their awareness and understanding of RSA and their opinions on the drivers and obstacles to use.
All companies selected had between 20 and 100 employees, a threshold set to ensure companies surveyed were large enough to have significant aggregates use, while not responding to environmental drivers in the same way as larger firms.
Copies of the full research report can be obtained from the AggRegain website at:
Notes to editors:
- WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme) is a major UK programme established to promote resource efficiency. Its particular focus is on creating stable and efficient markets for recycled materials and products and removing the barriers to waste minimisation, re-use and recycling.
- A not-for-profit company, WRAP is backed by substantial Government funding from Defra and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- WRAP is currently running fifteen programmes. Twelve of them relate to market development, comprising nine material streams (Paper, Plastics, Glass, Wood, Organics, Aggregates, Tyres, Batteries and Plasterboard) and three generic areas (Business & Finance, Procurement, and Regional Market Development). Three further programmes relate to the wider resource efficiency remit - Collections, Communications and Awareness, and Waste Minimisation.
- The WRAP Aggregates Programme in England has been funded since 2002 by Defra through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund. The Aggregates Levy was set up by the Government to reduce impact on the environment from the extraction of aggregates such as crushed rock, sand and gravel used in construction. The WRAP work, which is being funded for a further three years from 2004, has the aim of reducing demand for primary aggregates by encouraging greater use of recycled and secondary aggregates. Some of the revenues from the Levy are also channelled back to communities affected by aggregates extraction through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund in England and the Sustainable Action Fund in Scotland.
- WRAP has set a target for its Aggregates Programme to increase the production capacity for recycled and secondary aggregates by up to 3 million tonnes a year by March 2006. In support of this, a further target for the Aggregates Programme is to promote and facilitate the specification of recycled and secondary aggregates to the point at which 20% of local authorities are specifying these materials in street maintenance contracts by 2006.
- Recycled aggregates can be produced by reprocessing materials - such as concrete, brick, asphalt, unbound sub-bases - previously used in construction. Secondary aggregates are typically by-products of other industrial processes not previously used in construction, such as china clay waste, foundry sand, glass, tyres, and plastic.
- WRAP’s AggRegain service (www.AggRegain.org.uk) provides comprehensive information and guidance on all aspects of the production, specification, procurement and use of recycled and secondary aggregates.
- More information on all of WRAP’s programmes can be found at www2.wrap.org.uk
For further information contact:
Tom Parrish or Alison Jones, Consultants
Tel: 01295 279 626
Press Office, Media Relations Manager
Tel: 01295 819 928