Big impact on sustainability through innovation pathway

13 Feb 2018

Our Americas business is making huge strides in recycling and was recently featured in the USGBC+ (United States Green Building Council) magazine.

Featured in the ‘Collaborative Thinking’ article was Lendlease Director of Sustainability Geoff Brock, who shared his experience implementing an innovative wallboard recycling initiative.

“We’re talking the magnitude of hundreds of tons of waste per project per month,” he said.

Wallboard can make up the majority of waste for interior projects – and around 20 per cent of total construction waste, with most of that material ending up in landfill. Geoff saw an opportunity to recycle via site segregation, and knew to be successful it would require a different approach.

Wallboard, also known as gypsum board or drywall, is fully recyclable but quickly loses recyclability when commingled with other waste because of crumbling and contamination.

Using the Lendlease Innovation Pathway, Geoff collaborated with jobsites and industry stakeholders through Building Product Ecosystems, a group including manufacturers, developers, construction managers, haulers and sorting facilities to harmonize efforts with the supply chain.

“BPE convenes all those members together so we could tackle this challenge as an industry,” Geoff said. “It also helped create an atmosphere within the company that this is a priority,” he says.

This was a new approach to an old problem and an example of using innovation to demonstrate leadership in sustainability and influence positive change across our business. 

Lendlease is now segregating wallboard for recycling at two large commercial projects in New York with plans to continue expansion of the initiative across the portfolio.

“Given the scale of our operations, even if we make small changes to the way we’re doing things we’re going to have a big impact,” Geoff said.

You can read the ‘Collaborative Thinking’ Lendlease article in the July/August edition of USGBC magazine.