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Construction waste: turning old buildings into new ones

Responsible Heathrow case study

Heathrow's buildings, runways and pavements are hard-wearing. But, with 180,000 passengers and 1,200 aircraft passing through every day, they sometimes need replacing to keep the airport up-to-date, and we're always looking to create new, better facilities for our passengers.

Upgrading Heathrow with modern buildings often means demolishing old ones. We make every effort to send materials from old buildings for recycling, rather than to landfill. In demolishing the 55 year old Terminal 2 to make way for the exciting and modern new terminal, we have recycled over 99% of demolition waste - including concrete, metal, plastic and timber. The only materials we can't recycle are the hazardous ones, like asbestos.

As the recycling takes place at specialist centres across the South East of England, we don't use many of the recycled building materials on-site. Instead they become available for construction projects across the UK. Much of the concrete, for example, goes into new motorways, roads and pavement.

Runways, taxiways and the ramps where planes park use especially high quality concrete - a valuable resource. When we replace these surfaces, we remove the old concrete and send it to a special off-site facility for crushing, to produce a material we can reuse in new surfaces.

Heathrow’s Sustainable Mobility Zone in partnership with Guardian Sustainable Business