We here at Plastic Expert are pleased to welcome the founders of Enviromate…
Hi guys, would to like to introduce yourselves to our readers?
Hi everyone, our names our Reiss & Nigel, we are two UK Entrepreneurs who have co-founded the social enterprise and construction material reuse site Enviromate®.
Reiss studied business management at university and now works in marketing whilst Nigel is a career long construction professional (project management) and have both had a strong interest in social enterprise and sustainable business.
Could you tell us a bit about your business?
Enviromate has been developed as a one stop destination for all levels of construction from everyday tradesmen to multinational developers to promote reuse of leftover construction materials from projects within the construction industry.
To achieve this Enviromate has two levels;
- construction material classified site that enables the listing and search of excess/leftover materials for free or at cost to other members (if you like, a gumtree for construction materials).
- the ability to help community projects seeking building materials, in which larger developers can search and donate excess to projects/charities of choice.
What is your long term mission as a business?
Enviromate, as a company and as a brand’s long term plan is to grow to become a global hub for reuse of excess materials, preventing the diversion straight to recycling and or worse landfill – promoting and enabling a platform for greener more sustainable construction industry. So irrelevant if a builder has leftover materials, a community project is seeking materials or a developer is looking to donate – the first place will be Enviromate.
After growing the UK/European markets, the distant future we see Enviromate as a global transferable brand across the built up world, replicated across the world to reduce construction waste as a whole and benefit the future sustainability of our planet – whilst then moving onto educating future generations of builders, architects etc to enable a continued focus of reuse for generations to come.
How did the idea for the business come about?
Well the idea grew quite quickly to be honest, working in the construction industry we have seen waste of vital reusable materials at all levels, whilst also seeing local community projects struggle in search of materials to complete projects. So we both sat and started brain storming and researching as to an easy platform that could enable and encourage the reuse of these materials at all levels, all under one roof. To include local tradesmen right up to the big developers all contributing to a circular economy. After a few weeks and lots of coffee, the Enviromate® brand was born and we went to work on designing an easy to use site to achieve our mission of reducing construction landfill and a sustainable future for all.
How does it work?
We have made the Enviromate® site as easy as possible to use and navigate and completely free to join, and this we hope will continue to get easier as we grow. For tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts you simply create an account, from that point you can simply get listing your leftover building materials by taking a photo and adding a description similar to any auction site, whilst you can also search or place an ad for materials wanted.
Community projects/charities as mentioned, which many being headed by non-construction professionals so sourcing materials can be daunting. Many we speak to say; where do we start? Wholesaler? Building contractors? How do we get our message across? Community projects/charities have a page in which they can list their projects in detail and list the materials required, thus attracting donations through the larger developers searching our site. They in turn contact us and we arrange the donation to take place – and along with this Enviromate will actively promote each project through our various media and contacts.
Do you think the construction industry should be looking at ways to tackle its reliance on landfill?
Absolutely and so should every industry not just construction. We have seen some great progress over the last few years in the industry with the introduction of waste management plans for developments over £300,000 and bodies such as WRAP & Constructing Excellence, plus many more; with continued work on reducing the problem and ‘designing out waste’. But even with this in the UK alone the construction industry in the uses approximately 420 million tonnes of materials and products per annum and generates 120 million tonnes of waste. It is estimated that 13% of construction products that arrive on a building site end in a skip as waste product without ever being used, with a market value of approximately £1.5 billion each year.
What are your thoughts towards reuse and recycling?
We are strong believers of both and support all that practice both; we hope to join forces with like-minded brands in the coming future. We focus on the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle system and concentrated and designed Enviromate to be placed in the reuse section of the waste hierarchy as we see that there was certainly in the construction industry an opportunity to increase this area to match that of the growing reduce and recycle elements. Whilst recycling is fantastic, if a material can be reused in its current usable state then this is what should happen before it is recycled.
How would Enviromate contribute to CSR?
For the larger developers who have these departments, it can be difficult and time consuming to find the right projects to donate to or difficult to reuse leftover materials. With Enviromate organisations can search listed projects on our site and contact to donate to them very simply, and tailor the right community project to match not only the materials they have but also to match with the company’s goal, missions, or even their local area. The donation can then be leveraged into their marketing strategy along with Enviromate, enhancing their brand and importantly their CSR programmes – increasing profitability and attracting new business. Whilst importantly making environmental sense it can also save companies money, minimizing landfill charges and reducing waste management costs.
What sorts of materials could we expect to see on the website?
As we cover all trades you can expect to find all manner of construction materials and even a tool section on the classified part. Currently there is plasterboard, tiles and even a fireplace! Whilst also community projects looking for an array of material and some great projects listed already from a self-build scout hut, centre for children with learning difficulties and a tool sharing scheme in London.
Who is held responsible for all the excess construction waste?
For larger developments it begins with client and the principal contractor, a waste management plan will then be project managed – all construction developments below the £300,000 limit will be managed by the contractor and further down local tradesmen are responsible for their waste. Ultimately and unfortunately it can be time consuming to manage and can be seen as easy to just skip what is leftover and then a waste firm to deal with, this is where Enviromate makes it easy. Being in the mind of all levels of construction with an easy platform to encourage reuse of the materials first.
What are your feelings towards landfill?
It’s a global problem that is only going to get worse! But for how long can we continue this? Now is time for huge change, landfill was created before our time but we are a generation of change, vision and a sustainable future across all industries.. Destructive ways only lead to destructive results, now we have the chance to create, educate and practice more sustainable methods. Landfill should be a product of the past; reducing, reusing and recycling not only benefit a company but benefit our planet and our existence.
What does the future hold for Enviromate?
As we have said we are a new venture, but one with two dedicated young entrepreneurs that have a goal of a sustainable construction industry. Focussed on reuse of materials and resources, we hope for Enviromate to grow to the largest classified site for construction materials and for assisting community projects/charities be linked together with developers seeking to do the same… Reuse! Enviromate will hopefully educate and provide reports and tangible evidence of benefits of reuse, whilst grow to be the go to brand for construction material reuse and the environments mate!
‘If you don’t build your dream be sure that someone else will hire you to build theirs!’