Neal Maxwell

Changing Streams calls for help from construction industry to stop plastic use

A new not-for-profit organisation, Changing Streams, has been created to remove plastic from the construction industry.

Neal Maxwell (pictured above), who has worked in the construction industry for more than 30 years, founded the organisation alongside researchers from the University of Liverpool.

He said: “After my trip to the Arctic, I was shocked by the extent of the plastic problem and had to do something about it.

“When I researched the major contribution my industry was actually having to the problem, I knew it was time for action on a global scale — and that has to start somewhere.”

The organisation is appealing for help from UK and international businesses — particularly those in the built environment — to eradicate the use of plastic globally.

Changing Streams is calling for support for this initiative from contractors, material manufacturers, the A&D community, surveyors and property owners, as well as any company or individual who believes in this cause.

The organisation is bringing together experts from across the construction, scientific and environmental communities, to facilitate research and development programmes to drive a reduction in plastics in buildings and throughout the built environment supply chain.

The aims of Changing Streams include: 

  • creating awareness of the plastic epidemic and the impact it is having on the global ecosystem
  • actively researching the development and use of new sustainable plastic-free alternatives
  • the phasing out of materials containing plastic within the construction industry
  • the creation of a scientific-based accreditation system to access plastic content in products 
  • the creation of a template house made without plastic
  • the end of the use of plastic wrapping for building materials such as bricks and cladding
  • an online workshop programme 
  • a new charter.

Businesses can pledge their support by joining a new membership programme that was set up with the aim of raising awareness of the global plastic problem and funding research into the development of environmentally friendly alternatives.

Membership benefits include: 

  • a series of networking events to share best practice and knowledge
  • regular communication via e-bulletins and a copy of the annual report
  • access to accredited training and technical webinars run by specialists 
  • the development of a bespoke individual action plan to help companies reduce their own plastic usage.

“At Changing Streams, we can open up doors for members to academic research and provide access to extensive knowledge platforms, which can help future-proof businesses and ensure they have a greener, more sustainable growth plan,” added Neal.

“It is only through this type of collaboration that we will be able to accomplish real change and ensure that plastic doesn’t become the asbestos of the future.”

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