Overview

The building sector has undergone significant changes in recent years with concerns being raised in the areas of health and safety and the sustainability of materials that it uses. These concerns have led to the industry reconsidering the ways that it operates, and the building materials that it is ready to employ The E-Kerb is made from unwashed and unsorted domestic and industrial plastic waste, which would normally be destined for Landfill and possesses the potential to incorporate other problematic waste materials. This product therefore offers the prospect of creating a positive use rather than disposal problem. The potential is without doubt here to kick-start an initiative that will lead to the development of the waste collection infrastructure in the regions and the establishment of a co-mingling plant to process it.

The Enviroment
The E-Kerb has the potential to create viable local re-cycling loops by consuming significant quantities of unsorted and unwashed post consumer plastic waste, which would normally be destined for Landfill. Industrial plastic waste ÷ which is becoming an increasing issue as the Waste Electronic and Electrical equipment (WEEE) and the Vehicle End-of-Life Directives are implemented ÷ can also be used. The E-Kerb environmental features can be summarised as follows: - It is manufactured out of recovered polymers, which require minimal processing; It replaces a product whose main components ÷ cement and aggregate ÷ are natural products, which have an environmental cost in their acquisition and are from non-sustainable sources; It offers a longer working life than its competitive products; Its light weight and design minimise the risk of injury to those who handle it; When it is eventually scrapped, it can be fed back into the co-mingling process without any treatment or processing.

Legistration
Legislation driven by concerns for on-site workerÔs health and safety mean that a site may only operate a single stone saw unit per site. In addition, this saw must be under the supervision of a trained, and named, operator. This has serious implications for a large site that is performing many hundreds of cuts per day, with large backlogs of cutting operations waiting to take place often causing delays to a contract. Where kerbs are being laid this is especially true with many stones needing to be trimmed to fit. The choice of a kerbstone made of a different material that could be cut easily, either by hand saw, or by hot-wire operation would now provide a welcome alternative to a stone manufactured from the established medium.

Breakage
The concrete kerbstone is very prone to chipping and breakage. Most contractors will allow for between 5% to 10% breakage of stones between manufacture and installation: this occurs mainly during unloading. In addition, approximately 20% of a contractorÔs annual kerbstone business is the replacement of stones that have suffered chips[1] . The force required to cause a chipping is relatively minor, and the majority of incidents are caused by the collision of a vehicle wheel with the kerb. Co-mingled plastic does not chip, crack or crumble and is impervious to adverse weather. It will not be damaged during delivery, handling on site or laying and is unlikely to be damaged afterwards by traffic.

Health & Safety
Kerbstones are heavy and, due to the low relative position that they are bedded into, are responsible for a large number of back and foot injuries in the sector. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has imposed an extremely tight timetable within which the industry has to replace all manual laying of kerbstones with machine laying. This is because the weight of a typical concrete edging kerbstone is @ 15Kg. Local authorities are required to conduct risk assessments and seek ╬innovativeÔ solutions to any manual handling of kerbstones that cannot be taken over by machine The consensus of opinion among the housebuilders and local authorities contacted is that the use of machines will increase the time
taken to lay kerbstones by around 30% initially. The need for a machine and driver will also add about ú1.00 - ú2.00 per m to the overall cost. It is also generally agreed that the use of machines would create problems in particular circumstances. The total weight of the E-Kerb is approximately 7kg and it is well within the regulatory weight limit for manual laying.This compares with the 15Kg average weight of a concrete edging kerb and for the average kerbstone weighing 70kg the potential to reduce to 25 ÷35 Kgs obviates the need for use of a machine to lay each kerbstone

Other advantages
Cement production is among the most energy-intensive materials used in the construction industry and a major contributor to CO2 in the atmosphere the E-kerb weighs @ 7.0g ~50% of the weight of its concrete counter part saving on transportation the standard E-kerb could be colour dipped to match existing kerbs. the E-kerb can be coloured or made reflective to form higher-value decorative or warning, bordered kerbs for Government or public buildings such as schools
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