CEWales E Bulletin April 23
With the economy really struggling and growth remaining subdued, the only positivity seems to be that there is no looming recession; with tighter financial conditions, high inflation, and weak confidence, all these factors are holding back activity and creating instability in the markets.
However, we at CEWales are not witnessing the negativity of my opening remarks, as we have had two weeks of judging for the CEW Awards. We have received presentations on the fantastic projects and schemes of work that you are delivering throughout Wales; all driving transformation in the built environment and providing tangible examples of what excellence in construction really is. There are so many lessons we can extract from those who made the awards short list, all contributing and adding value to accelerate learning within the sector. We cannot wait to share these with you.
Plastics in Construction
The following Welsh Government consultation made me think of our role and what part we can play in the drive to reduce plastics in construction. https://www.gov.wales/proposals-enforcement-environmental-protection-single-use-plastic-products-wales-bill The measures so far introduced, are not of direct impact to the construction industry, even though the sector is the second largest user of plastic after the retail packaging industry and responsible for around 40% of plastic production and waste worldwide.
This prompted me to gain an update from my contact in Changing Streams, which has been operating for nearly 4 years. In that time, they have developed significant partnerships with key players in the construction industry to address how plastic is used and disposed of within the built environment and how the sector’s reliance on plastic could be reduced by moving to more sustainable materials. This work is being progressed via the Changing Streams Research Centre at the University of Liverpool – press release here; https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2022/01/14/new-research-centre-to-reduce-plastic-in-construction-to-launch/ Identifying and validating sustainable alternatives to plastic is, of course, the key to changing the direction of travel, and ultimately policy change will be needed to ensure that this becomes reality. Please get in contact if you would like to be involved.
They are raising awareness of the risks caused by the continuing escalation of plastic production, and in particular, as more evidence becomes available to demonstrate the effect of plastic pollution on both the marine and terrestrial environment and on human health.
Changing Streams welcomes the Welsh Government measures which have been brought in to limit the use of single-use carrier bags, microbeads in personal care products and other disposable items, and the proposed implementation of civil sanctions to ensure compliance with these measures. This is a great first step in the move away from the ubiquitous and unnecessary use of plastic.
They hope that this is indeed only a first step. There are many other uses of plastic which should be limited; for example, single-use packaging in many retail and trade applications. Also, there is no sanction on the spillage of the plastic nurdles which form the raw material for plastic manufacture and are frequently found washed up on coastlines around the world including Wales.
Here are a few other links which you may find of interest.
Here are a couple of articles we published which may help with your understanding of the challenges ahead.
Supply Chains Made Smarter
Trust in safety-critical products has been seriously undermined by fake data scandals and major disasters such as Grenfell Tower. Finding the truth of a product’s provenance is never more needed than now – and reinforcing steel is one of the most safety-critical elements in any project. Structural engineers also need to understand the environmental impact of their designs and in particular, the carbon footprint of the reinforcing steel. The CARES Cloud digital solution was developed to address and solve these urgent issues. I had an extremely interesting meeting about how a Digitised Supply Chain can provide Safety Assurance, Provenance, and Accurate Carbon Accounting, together with Positive Economics using the CARES Cloud digital solution. Read full article here