Aberdeenshire Council recycles around 70% of its street sweepings and the recovered materials have now been turned into sustainable, highly adaptable, building blocks.

The council collects all its street sweepings, which would previously have been sent to landfill, and currently sends them to Levenseat’s recycling facility in Forth, Lanarkshire.

Sweepings are washed, sieved, separated, and filtered. The aggregate and graded sand recovered from the process is used to create concrete that ultimately becomes an interlocking building product known as Lev-co blocks.

The blocks require no mortar, are long lasting and fire resistant, and can create strong, interlocking structures, which can later be dismantled, adjusted, and repeatedly used elsewhere.

Lev-co blocks are manufactured from high quality recycled and reclaimed raw material making them a more environmentally friendly option than the typical concrete block.

With Aberdeenshire Council rolling out its new kerbside collection strategy across Aberdeenshire, blocks such as these can be used to create separated, adjustable bays so that no contamination between the various recycling streams can take place.

In fact, bays constructed from the Lev-co blocks have now been installed at the Redcloak waste transfer station in Stonehaven for that very purpose, in preparation for the additional stream of recycling.

Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor John Crawley said: “This innovative use of street sweepings is an excellent example of the circular economic approaches we should all be aspiring to for our waste and recycling.

“A circular economy helps to reduce waste, conserve resources, and in this instance is an opportunity for a business to create a new revenue stream.”

Vice-chair Councillor Isobel Davidson said: “Creating new products or services from waste and recycling and returning those valuable resources into the economy is always better than simply throwing things away.

“It’s great to see the benefits from this method returning directly to us, to be used in our own facilities. Ultimately, the more we take this approach to waste and recycling, the more we move towards a sustainable future for all.”

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