Scott Bros is experiencing increased demand for its recycled sand as more companies recognise the environmental toll that extraction is having on the planet.
The family-run firm recently invested £6m in one of the country’s largest ‘urban quarries’ that converts construction and excavation waste into high quality builder’s and sharp sand together with five grades of aggregate, ranging from 5-10mm up to 60-120mm.
Still undergoing commissioning, the wash plant – one of the largest in the UK – is currently processing 180 tonnes of inert material per hour. Once fully operational, the site at South Bank, Middlesbrough, will process up to 300 tonnes per hour.
Since ramping up production of its ‘green’ construction materials, the Teesside company has seen a sharp rise in demand – with several major North East suppliers having switched from natural sand to buying more than 800 tons of recycled sand every week.
Scott Bros has the capacity to produce more than 200,000 tonnes of recycled sand annually.
The huge investment followed on from the market created by Scott Bros’ first and much smaller £1m wash plant, which processes up to 50 tons of inert material per hour.
Bob Borthwick, a director of Scott Bros, said: “Our first wash plant, which we opened in 2019, created a strong market for green construction materials and even with the addition of our new £6m wash plant, recycled sand is being sold almost as quickly as we can produce it.
“Over the last few years, the construction industry has definitely recognised both the economic and environmental benefits involved.”
“One of our customers has completely switched from supplying quarried sand to our recycled sand and is now taking away up to 500 tonnes per week. We are also seeing other customers increasing the amounts they buy as confidence grows in recycled aggregates that is helping fuel Teesside’s circular economy.”
Last year, it was estimated that the UK imported almost £7m worth of sand, which is the most widely used aggregate, while a 2022 report by the Mineral Products Association, warned that demand projections for Great Britain suggest that 3.8bn and 4.1bn tonnes of aggregates will be required between 2022 and 2035 – at a time of a continuing decline in traditional sources of aggregates due to restricted availability and limited access to particular mineral resources.
The world is facing a shortage of sand, given that desert sand is unsuitable for construction whilst marine sand must be washed clean of salt.
Fellow director Peter Scott added: “In the past such construction waste would have often ended up in landfill. It is now being converted into recycled sand that is not only cost effective and of a high quality but is helping to preserve valuable natural resources and protect ecosystems.
“Recycled aggregates are the answer and Scott Bros is proud to be at the forefront of a technology that will help overcome the depleting global supplies of natural sand.”