Professional Builder reports on an alternative to traditional concrete road kerbs which are claimed to offer a more environmentally-friendly solution, whilst also reducing the potential for accidents on site.
Health and safety, in tandem with sustainability considerations, are two areas of key importance for the building industry. Regular lifting and carrying of considerable loads are a common cause of musculoskeletal problems in construction workers — for example, the HSE reported an average of 2,310 workers per 100,000 in the UK building industry suffering work-related musculoskeletal disorders between 2015-2018. With concrete kerb stones in particular difficult to carry manually, Durakerb has developed a lighter alternative, composed of 88 per cent recycled polymer.
Each Durakerb unit is made of the equivalent of 182 recycled plastic bottles and weighs only 6kgs, allowing it to be cut with a hand saw and installed manually. In contrast, a traditional concrete kerb unit can be more than 90 per cent heavier and requires strict assessment during installation as well-maintained lifting equipment is necessary.
Additionally, there can be further implications regarding the use of power tools to cut the concrete to the correct size. Similarly, the cutting of concrete kerbs generates a high level of risk to airborne silica — the HSE’s cancer burden study estimates that 600 people die a year from lung cancer associated with exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), with 450 of these occurring from exposures in the construction sector.
Recycled plastic kerbs, on the other hand, contain no carcinogenic RCS, meaning workers are safe from lung conditions. Furthermore, in addition to preventing injury-related lost working days, Durakerb says that its products are also far quicker to install, reducing working time on live networks by up to 75 per cent.
Part of the Econpro Group, a specialist group of companies that “transform waste and by-product into sustainable products and solutions”, Durakerb reports that it has been “championing a more sustainable future for 11 years”. In terms of distribution, it operates a policy through which “nearly all our transactions in the UK go through merchants directly or indirectly through our stockists”.
The company has recently announced the installation of its 400,000th kerb in the UK, preventing the equivalent of 72 million plastic bottles from going to landfill. It also lays claim to delivering a 73 per cent reduction in carbon emissions per full load when compared to concrete, calculating it has saved approximately 12,000,000kgs of emitted carbon through production (in comparison to a precast concrete alternative) and the removal of 1,000 articulated vehicles to transport due to its lightweight nature.
Phil Sutton, MD at Econpro, said: “The installation of Durakerb is safe and easy for workers as the product’s lightweight nature and absence of carcinogenic silica (can) prevent costly and dangerous accidents at work. Since its inception, Durakerb has long been recognised for its safety benefits having been awarded the Institution of Highways & Transportation Health & Safety at Work Award back in 2008.
“With a renewed focus on plastics waste looking for sustainable markets, we believe further adoption of recycled polymer kerbing solutions can offer a viable outlet for thousands of tons of waste plastics in the UK every year. We’re proud to be at the forefront of the development of these products as we drive toward carbon neutrality within the UK in 2050.”
Durakerb in numbers
- 400,000 units installed nationwide
- 72,800,000 recycled bottles, caps & closures
- 21,600 tonne reduction in weight
- 11,215 tonnes of carbon saved