Scottish firm the first UK company to get an Environmental Product Declaration for their recycled aggregates

21/09/2023
Scott Brewster and his father Alex Brewster at their Livingston site

SUSTAINABLE resource management specialist Brewster Brothers has become the first in the UK to achieve an Environmental Product Declaration for their recycled aggregates. The intention of such declarations (EPDs) is to be able to report and compare independently verified data about the environmental performance of companies’ products all the way from extraction to end of life. An EPD gives a firm’s customers access to accurate and transparent environmental impact data for their own sustainability reporting.

The EPD is achieved after first carrying out a Life Cycle Assessment. The Life Cycle Assessment is a way for a firm to evaluate its product’s environmental performance over its life. It typically takes into consideration the full chain from material extraction to manufactured product, the usage stage and then its end of life.

As well as the EPD, and in order to make it even easier for Brewster Brothers’ customers to assess the carbon savings of using their products versus virgin aggregates or other recycled equivalents, the firm has created its own carbon calculator which can be found here.

The Scottish government’s plan is for the nation to hit net-zero by 2045. As part of that journey the government’s also set a 2025 target to reduce total waste in Scotland by 15% compared to 2011 levels and to reduce the food we throw out by 33% against 2013 levels.

The construction, demolition and extraction industry generates 50% of Scotland’s waste, 40% of Scotland’s carbon emissions and is responsible for 50% of Scotland’s natural resource consumption. Recycling waste from the sector through Brewster Brothers’ wash plant recovers 100% of the soil, sand, gravel, and stone, which are reprocessed into high-value products for reuse.

Over the five years of its operation, Brewster Brothers’ plant near Livingston has diverted over 1 million tonnes of construction, demolition and excavation (CDE) waste from landfill and created more than 750,000 tonnes of recycled aggregates with a carbon saving of 20,000 tonnes.

Following that success the firm has recently announced that later in 2023 it’s to open a second site at the disused Gartshore brickworks near Cumbernauld. The new plant will serve construction sites, housing and utilities developments in the Western Central Belt, keeping the firm’s carbon footprint to a minimum as it transports materials to and from its customers. It’s expected that the new site will divert a further 300,000 tonnes of CDE waste per year from landfill.  

Scott Brewster, the managing director of Brewster Brothers, set up the sustainable resource management business in 2017 alongside his father, Alex Brewster, with recycling and reuse of aggregates its sole purpose.

Scott Brewster said: “The success of Brewster Brothers demonstrates that customers, and the construction sector that serve them, increasingly appreciate the need to move toward more sustainable and circular practices. The fact that our recycled products now have an EPD makes it easy for our current and potential customers to calculate the carbon footprint of the products they get from us. That in turn helps our customers to transparently demonstrate their own environmental credentials to their own customers.”

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