Do you have a sustainable procurement strategy? Or goals to grow your business while operating more sustainably?
This month, we’re talking all about sustainable procurement — and how recycled concrete might just help businesses win bigger projects, as developers, governments, and organisations face increasing pressure to choose sustainable products and service providers.
First, let’s start with the bare basics…
What is Sustainable Procurement?
Quite simply, procurement is the process of purchasing goods and services (usually, on behalf of an organisation) — and sustainable procurement means doing it in a way that considers the environmental, social, and economic impacts.
Other terms used interchangeably include sustainable purchasing, green procurement, and sustainable sourcing.
Sustainable procurement is an increasingly important process for many organisations. Here’s why it matters:
- To meet environmental targets – Many companies set their own individual sustainability targets, as well as governments and regulators
- To meet consumer expectations – Customers expect companies to do their part and operate more sustainably (and be able to demonstrate this)
- To become ISO-certified – Certain companies may need to integrate sustainable procurement practices in order to meet the requirements for ISO 20400
- To meet or prepare for regulations – With tightening rules and new policies around environmental sustainability, forward-thinking companies are making changes now to get ahead
- To become an employer of choice – The next generation of employees want to work for organisations that do good and have a higher purpose
- To become more efficient – Many sustainable purchases and innovations can lead to reduced costs and greater operational efficiency in the long-run
- To make a difference – Procurement has a key role to play in sustainability, and can drive real positive change in societies, workplaces, and the environment
Finally, sustainable procurement is critical to support the circular economy. By increasing your demand for sustainable products such as recycled or reused materials, you help to support and grow the market for them.
An Example of Sustainable Procurement
Recycled concrete is a classic example of sustainable concrete. Imagine a local council requests companies to tender for a contract to construct a new footpath — and places emphasis on the importance of sustainability. To increase the likelihood of winning the contract, service providers might mention the following in their response:
- A solution for recycling the old concrete from the existing footpath
- Measures to ensure the new footpath lasts longer than average (like appropriately levelled and compacted ground, or corresponding drainage solutions)
- Using crushed recycled concrete (like our CBR 45) to help prepare, level, and compact the ground underneath the new concrete path
- Plans to minimise travel time and distance to reduce CO2 emissions
- Plans for hiring new staff and/or partnering with other businesses (as locally as possible) in accordance with the scope of the project
- The potential for a long-term and ongoing partnership with the council to maintain the footpath and/or deliver outcomes on other projects with similar requirements
Of course, there are other potential aspects to sustainable procurement —- but hopefully this example will give you a good idea of what it might look like.
Why Choose Recycled Concrete for Sustainable Procurement?
There are many reasons recycled concrete is a viable option for sustainable procurement — especially as an alternative to quarry-sourced gravels, rocks, and dust.
So, let’s take a look at our products and services through the lenses of social, environmental, and economic sustainability, as well as their long-term potential.
Socially sustainable procurement considers the product, service, or business’s impact on society. This covers aspects like fair labour practices, diversity, inclusiveness, and ethics.
Many concrete recycling companies (like ours) are small businesses that employ local residents wherever possible. Supporting small operators creates opportunities to grow businesses locally and provide more jobs in the region, as well as encouraging greater competition as more locals seek out viable business opportunities. Naturally, this can lead to a lot of social good.
Perhaps the best-known pillar of sustainable procurement is environmental sustainability. This means sourcing products and services that are likely to have a lower environmental impact over their life cycle due to fewer toxins, reduced waste outputs, or lower emissions. Or because they’re longer lasting, made from recyclable/recycled materials, organic, or some other characteristic that leads to better environmental outcomes.
Our concrete recycling practices play an important role in environmental sustainability for many projects and businesses throughout the Moreton Bay region. Firstly, we process concrete waste at our facility, diverting it from landfill and giving it a second life. Secondly, the recycled concrete aggregates can help to reduce demand for quarry products such as sandstone and granite — which means more of the Australian landscape remains untouched. In addition to our core aspects of environmental sustainability, our practices also include:
- Using recycled water and rainwater onsite
- Extracting and recycling steel reinforcement from concrete
- Providing facilities to prevent waste from contaminating waterways via truck tires
- Choosing a central location to Moreton Bay to minimise travel (and CO2 emissions) to the local development
- Working at night to minimise dust and noise impacts on neighbours
Learn more about How Moreton Bay Recycling Positively Impacts the Environment.
Economic impacts are another key pillar of sustainability — if the costs and benefits don’t add up (upfront and over the lifetime of the product), the other aspects of sustainability likely won’t be enough.
The great thing about recycled concrete is that it is typically less costly than the alternatives. The cost to take concrete waste to a dedicated recycling facility is often less than the cost to dump it at a council facility (where it may end up in landfill). And we’ve calculated the cost of recycled concrete aggregates at around $28-$114 lower per tonne than landscaping products used for similar purposes.
Finally, another important aspect of sustainability is being able to develop long-term relationships with your suppliers, as this can help increase accountability and further improve sustainability practices.
Moreton Bay Recycling has been around for 12 years (and counting!). And in that time, we’ve built relationships with local tradespeople, landscapers, plumbers, demolition companies, environmental groups, industry groups, and council members. We’ve got the numbers to back up our promise of recycling 99.9% of incoming waste. And we’re here to stay, along with the practice of concrete recycling, with the Queensland government setting lofty recycling targets over the coming decades.
Just in case you’re new to engaging sustainable suppliers or procuring recycled products, here’s a few tips:
- Ask questions – The best way to find out about a supplier’s sustainability is to ask questions about common issues like waste, CO2 emissions, product sourcing, employment, work environments, and more.
- Follow the rules – In order to produce a high grade, sustainable product, companies like ours rely on customers to follow our rules (like keeping concrete waste clean).
- Share your goals – If you’re looking to achieve a specific outcome, let us know and we might be able to design a specific solution for your organisation or project.
Be supportive – Sustainable products and services can only exist when the market supports them, so take steps to support your suppliers by purchasing from them and spreading the word.
Need Concrete Recycling or Sustainable Gravel Alternatives?
Whether you work in procurement or you’re a potential supplier with big projects in the pipeline, you can make a difference. Start by building on what you’ve learned here so that you can make more sustainable choices. And seek out products, services, and providers that tick all the boxes.
If you’re looking to place a competitive tender bid for a project and you’re in the Moreton Bay Region, Brisbane, or the Sunshine Coast… consider how you might partner with Moreton Bay Recycling to do it more sustainably.
Contact our team to chat about how we can support you, or pay us a visit at 171-177 Potassium street, Narangba.