Rethinking road resurfacing

The three Rs of the circular economy – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – could be used as the promoting mantra for UK based OCL Regeneration as they pave the way for more sustainable road resurfacing practices.

We alla have to reduce the amount of waste that we produce. This means that we need to rethink how we use raw materials and focus more on the environmental impact of what we do,” says Stuart Gready, Managing Director of OCL Regeneration, headquartered in Rochester, Kent.

OCL Regeneration was founded in 2006 by Stuart, who after ten years in the industry started to look at the environmental impact of road maintenance work. One of the growing challenges was the management of large amounts of hazardous material classified as ‘asphalt waste containing coal tar’ (AWCCT). As it is classed as hazardous waste it usually demands safe and costly disposal at special landfill sites.

“Instead, we are able to treat such hazardous asphalt planings via our permitted facilities after crushing, grading, and mixing them with foamed bitumen. The end result is a recycled cold-lay asphalt material,” says Stuart Gready.

Stuart Gready, CEO and founder of OCL.

Apart from reducing the amount of hazardous waste and the cost of its disposal, OCL Regeneration’s recycling process also reduces the need for virgin construction materials as well as the CO2 emissions associated with road maintenance work. The company’s two Foambase products utilise up to 94 % recycled aggregates bound with foamed bitumen and other hydraulic binders. Used to replace traditional base and binder courses, the cold-lay materials will use only a fifth of the energy and save at least 50 % of CO2 emissions.

Initially acting as a contractor, OCL Regeneration now operates from five depots across England, and plans to set up additional sites in the near future.

“Our depots are run as ‘tip and take’ sites, meaning that our customers can tip their waste and then take away our products on the same lorry. This saves time and reduces transport requirements. It is good for our customers and good for the environment,” says Stuart Gready.

The bitumen used in OCL Regeneration’s recycled mixes is supplied by Nynas, and according to Stuart Gready the collaboration with Nynas is a successful one.

“Nynas was able to step up and support us. We are very happy with their service and their eagerness to work with us,” he says.

Nynas is hardly alone in wanting to work with OCL Regeneration. During the past two years, the company has been involved in numerous high-profile projects, including working in partnership with Local Authorities and Tier 1 contractors on Term Maintenance contracts and large one-off schemes such as the Stubbington by-pass in Hampshire, a truck stop in Kent, and a new taxiway at Luton Airport. According to Stuart Gready, the company is experiencing significantly growing interest from new and existing customers.

“There are three main reasons for this growth in interest. Firstly, the increased and necessary focus on the climate emergency, secondly the reduced availability and increasing prices of other traditional materials, and thirdly the 10–20 % increase in energy costs. These are the great challenges facing the industry,” he says.

And, in targeting solutions to these challenges, OCL Regeneration is looking towards a bright future.

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