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UK manufacturer aims to replace concrete with recycled plastic material

Release date: 11/02/2009

A UK manufacturer of composites from waste plastic is targeting the construction industry with its building material, which it believes can replace concrete, steel and wood in any construction project.


i-plas has been manufacturing its building material from recycled polymers from its base in Halifax, North Yorkshire, for the past nine years. The product, which is 100 per cent recycled and recyclable, is already being used in applications as diverse as bridges, footpaths, walls, roofs, fences and flood prevention. i-plas is now looking to make its product the material of choice for the construction industry, as a direct replacement for concrete and steel, as well as wood.

 “I-plas is an incredible material and with properties similar to steel, concrete and wood, its applications are extensive,” said Howard Waghorn, managing director of i-plas. “We believe the construction industry should now be looking to use i-plas as a direct replacement for concrete in new projects.  Not only is it a great material in its own right, the environmental benefits are huge.  Why use concrete with its enormous environmental cost, when there is now an alternative that performs better and has no environmental impact?"

According to i-plas, producing a tonne of concrete generates almost a tonne of CO2 emissions, whereas one tonne of its material saves 1.66 tonnes of CO2 emissions and saves more CO2 than fully insulating a house (1.5 tonnes).
Other qualities of the product, according to its makers, is it will not chip or splinter, is vandal resistant, requires no varnish or coating and can be formulated for specific applications. Additionally, the material is extremely hardwearing, non-combustible, is difficult to ignite and will normally self-extinguish. 

 i-plas, which is now the UK’s leading supplier of manufactured composites from recycled plastic, was initially established with support from the European Landfill Tax Scheme. With its sister company, it operates from 160,000 square foot premises devoted to recycling, manufacturing and distribution. Annually it can process up to 6,000 tonnes of mixed waste plastic, which it sorts, grinds and converts to specific formulations based on the eventual use of the recycled material.

It has developed ‘closed-loop’ recycling schemes with many of its customers, where the plastic waste it collects from them is used in the products it supplies back to them.

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