The Construction Industry’s Plastic Problem
The construction sector is a huge producer of plastic waste, second only to consumer packaging. But not only does the industry produce plastic waste – it consumes huge amounts of plastic in the construction materials. The amount of plastic in buildings continues to grow – from the dominance of insulation, glues, paints, membranes, uPVC windows – polyurethane and polystyrene insulation to plastic membranes covering every conceivable surface.
There are two major issues with the use of plastics in construction – the long-term environmental impact and the quality of the indoor environment of modern buildings. Plastics, glues and paints are all responsible for off-gassing VOCs which combined with airtight house construction and poor ventilation can lead to seriously detrimental levels of indoor pollution.
Our Near-Zero Plastic Construction method is simple – we aim to adopt non-plastic alternatives wherever they are commercial available. So while there may be no replacement to the butyl rubber seals around double glazed window units but there is a alternative to uPVC windows.
This isn’t a static methodology – if we discover a new low-energy, non-plastic material we will start incorporating it into our buildings (and we are always delighted to take suggestions.