Wienerberger, the world’s largest brick manufacturer, operates 14 manufacturing sites in the UK which are energy-intensive, processing thousands of tonnes of raw materials annually.
Useful Projects was appointed to carry out a material flow analysis of Wienerberger’s brick and clay roof tile production processes in the UK. The aim of the analysis was to identify life-cycle stages and specific flows where material leakage or loss of value can occur.
Our analysis focused on inflows and outflows of raw materials, water and energy across the life-cycle stages that are directly controlled by Wienerberger. We also added indicative flows during distribution, construction and decommissioning, based on available industry data.
In collaboration with our sister company Thomas.Matthews, we produced highly visual Sankey diagrams to illustrate material and energy flows across the whole product life-cycle. The diagrams put all flows into perspective, highlighting existing circular flows and opportunities for improvement.
Based on our analysis, and the ongoing collaboration with our sister company Expedition Engineering regarding the Circular Economy in construction, we made specific recommendations for Wienerberger to increase circularity across the production process, such as using recycled instead of virgin material inputs in production and options to reduce downstream wastage beyond the factory gate.
Going forward, the results of the material flow analysis will support Wienerberger’s sustainability strategy. The data can be used as a baseline to set sustainability targets, to improve material efficiency and drive innovation in new processes and products.