Steps to deliver sustainability in the built environment – COP26

Steps to deliver sustainability in the built environment – COP26

With the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow only 68 days away, the call to get runaway climate change under control has never seen more urgency. Countries are being asked to align with ambitious emissions reductions targets that are designed to secure global net-zero by mid-century and limit global temperature rises to below 1.5 degrees.

For the very first time, the annual conference will dedicate an entire day to the built environment to address carbon emissions from buildings.

Responsible for a whopping 40% of carbon emissions in the UK, the built environment clearly has a major role to play in working towards net-zero. Whilst operational energy use from plug loads, cooking and heating as well as road and rail transport account for the highest carbon impact of the built environment, new construction is a major contributor, especially through building materials and products used.

Sustainable materials must form an integral part of future projects, and the advance in green technologies and solutions means neither quality nor aesthetics have to be compromised. However, sustainability doesn’t just refer to the way a material has been created, ideally with minimal embodied carbon.
Fundamentally, it means the current pattern of producing, using and discarding is transformed into a low emission model that prefers retaining materials by refurbishing or remanufacturing, reducing waste, and recycling.

Plastics are a case in point: It is estimated that 5 million tonnes of plastic are used in the UK every year of which less than 10% is recycled. A significant share of plastic waste is exported to overseas countries where hugely different environmental standards apply. The remainder of plastic waste ends up in UK landfills and, increasingly, incinerators. The main environmental cost of plastic lies in its production with about 4-8% of annual global oil consumption associated with plastics, according to the World Economic Forum. Unless production changes, it is projected that by 2050 plastics will account for 20% of oil consumption and the carbon emissions associated with it.

Thus, the conservation of resources through responsible production, consumption and recycling of materials without incineration or landfilling is the best path to reduce emissions.

Recycled plastic is a highly sustainable material that is made with energy-efficient manufacturing methods without the high environmental cost that new plastic production entails. Moreover, products made from recycled plastic help reduce waste and have a longer lifespan than the same product made from traditional materials. And once the product has reached the end of its life, the plastic can simply be recycled and reused again.

Because sustainability is at the heart of our mission, we offer a range of recycled plastic street furniture products. They are extremely robust, require no ongoing maintenance and will stand the test of time. Most importantly, they are one of the many readily available green solutions we need to help reduce our carbon emissions so the COP26 targets can be met.

COP26 takes place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021, for more information visit:


Would you like to know more about our sustainable products?

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UK Green Building Council – “Advancing Net Zero”

“A review on European Union’s strategy for plastics in a circular economy and its impact on food safety”

BBC – “Why plastic waste is an ideal building material”