Circular solution for facing bricks
Through a new collaboration with Brukspecialisten, Ragn-Sells now offers a circular solution for facing bricks, which are used in the creation of building facades in the construction industry.
Brukspecialisten developed a unique treatment process for cleaning used facing bricks of mortar, resulting in a product with the same structural integrity and durability as newly manufactured facing bricks. By making it possible to use recycled facing bricks instead of new ones, the process can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 96%.
On August 1, 2021, standards were increased for waste regulation in the construction sector, which accounts for 30% of all waste in Sweden. The increased standards mean that the construction industry must sort certain materials, including minerals, a category that includes bricks, to primarily be reused or recycled.
– We are constantly working to develop new recycling techniques and opportunities for our construction customers so that we can support them in the shift to more sustainable construction, says Camilla Sonnentheil, Head of Business Development at Ragn-Sells Recycling Sweden.
Traditionally, facing bricks sorted from demolition projects are usually either sent to landfills or used as construction material for non-facade sections, but through the collaboration with Brukspecialisten, Ragn-Sells can now offer its customers a circular solution. Brukspecialisten is the only company in Sweden able to process reusable and quality-assured facing bricks on a large scale. As part of its role in the collaboration, Ragn-Sells works with customers to collect facing bricks from various demolition projects and transport them to Brukspecialisten's facility in West Sweden.
But Brukspecialisten’s work begins even before the demolition process itself.
– Before we receive the bricks, while they’re still on the building’s facade, we perform various tests to get an idea of what type of material they are, taking test samples that are sent to a third party for analysis. This is crucial for both knowing what type of brick comes into our process and getting an indication of what quality it holds for our CE marking, says Jacob Steen, CEO of Brukspecialisten.
In the company’s meticulous process, the facing bricks are cleaned of all mortar.
– There are different types of mortar with different strengths, and in Sweden, we have a large proportion of strong cement-based mortars. We have discovered a technology that can remove even extremely strong mortars, says Steen. That is the key to our process and what makes us unique.
The recovered facing bricks go through various cleansing processes, resulting in CE-marked facing bricks that are cleared for use in new construction projects. They are just as frost-resistant as newly produced facing bricks and durable with the same estimated product lifespan.
– The use of recycled facing bricks allows for up to a 96% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to newly manufactured bricks. So it feels really good to have launched this collaboration with Brukspecialisten. It is also further proof that partnerships are important for achieving more circular value chains, says Sonnentheil.