Construction & Development New Products & Services 19 October 2020 Concrete is the clearest sign of infrastructure growth and real estate development. An increase in the manufacture of concrete correlates to greater economic activity in residential and commercial real estate sectors, and in the realm of public infrastructure. More houses, more roads, more offices, more schools, more stadiums. But this also leads to a grave problem. Even the most eco-conscious homeowners are unaware that concrete waste is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences. Concrete blocks from Envirocon provide the smartest solution to that problem and is a compelling step towards sustainable construction. The Problem of Concrete Waste While pioneering efforts towards reducing concrete wastage, and a more sustainable construction business, Envirocon has also been advocating for more awareness of the problem. New Zealand is estimated to produce almost 10 million tonnes of concrete a year. Although the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown have halted and slowed down the industry, it’s believed that once economic activity returns to the normal levels, so will concrete use. Of the 10 million tonnes of concrete, experts believe that 300,000 tonnes will go to waste and end up in landfills somewhere. That’s a gigantic amount, especially when it’s concrete. It can ruin waterbodies, disturb animal and bird habitats, and damage whole ecosystems. Envirocon decided to take the lead to not just solve the problem of concrete wastage going to landfills but also create an alternative model of construction. 6 years ago, Envirocon consulted several ready-mix concrete companies they had been partnering with to start a product stewardship scheme. Sustainable Concrete Technologies from Envirocon The objective of the scheme was to divert all surplus concrete and turn it into precast concrete products. The partnering companies understood the merit of the idea and agreed. In 2015, the scheme was accredited by the Minister for the Environment under the Waste Minimisation Act of 2008. With that, Envirocon committed to diverting 80,000 tonnes of concrete waste by 2022. For that, the company understood that existing technologies wouldn’t suffice. After all, we are talking about recycling, or more precisely, upcycling concrete. It required a total disruption of the established construction models and the invention of some industry-defying technologies. Those technological breakthroughs led to the creation of innovative concrete blocks from Envirocon that have the potential to reimagine the industry. Interbloc Interbloc is a modular wall system developed by Envirocon that consists of 1000 kg and 300 kg blocks. The innovative interlocking design and structure of Interbloc allow for faster construction. That speed is not a compromise on quality either. At 600 mm thickness, the wall is exceptionally durable. But above anything else, what makes Interbloc truly superior is its flexibility. Although it looks and acts like a permanent structure, the wall can be easily dismantled, moved, and importantly, reassembled. Reassembly and reuse of concrete, science fiction till a while ago, has now become a reality, thanks to Interbloc. Stonebloc Stonebloc is a retaining wall system, and like Interbloc, has an innovative interlocking design. The core block weighs 300 kg and is therefore extremely durable. Just like Interbloc, Stonebloc is also designed for faster construction and unmatched flexibility. It can be used in anything from a simple gravity retaining wall to more complex cantilever walls, or tied-back retaining walls. It also scores high on aesthetic appeal. Stonebloc has a range of textures and patterns to suit any design theme. As these concrete blocks from Envirocon are manufactured constantly, they can be easily customised to suit the specific colour requirements of the builder. In other words, concrete was never this flexible. By making the construction fast, the walls durable, and aesthetically appealing, these interlocking blocks are making it easy for homeowners and engineers to opt for them. What tilts the scale is that they are cheaper than conventional concrete. But most importantly, the concrete blocks from Envirocon are revolutionising the industry to make it environment-friendly. Unlike fossil fuels, concrete waste doesn’t get adequate attention from activists and scientists. And that lack of interest slowed down the chances of any collective action to solve the problem. Envirocon has taken the lead in addressing the environmental harm that concrete waste can create, and pioneered the industry in developing an affordable, flexible, and durable alternative. Recycling concrete waste was never on top of anyone’s list. And upcycling it was only a pipe dream, till the interlocking concrete blocks from Envirocon started rolling out.