Building a social conscience
The Island’s aggregate supplier, HJ Bennett, is a family run business going back several generations. They’re as inextricably linked to - and conscious of lowering their impact on – the beauty of the location in which they operate. But, being a supplier to the built environment is sometimes at odds with those ideals. Here’s how they make what they do as green as it possibly can be.
A small, family owned and run business based in the quiet village of Bembridge, HJ Bennett has been operating since 1948 and now manages the largest aggregate recycling plant on the Island, discreetly hidden away at St Georges Down, Newport.
‘As a local company we’ve been supplying aggregate and road surfacing materials for over 60 years’ says Nigel Bennett, Managing Director. ‘No-one is more aware of the impact that road construction has on the environment and especially this beautiful island on which we have built our reputation.’
Pioneers in aggregate recycling
H J Bennett’s commitment to recycling reaches back many years, Nigel Bennett - and his father before him - have always been passionate advocates of the benefit and need for recycling aggregates on the Isle of Wight and in making a sustainable contribution to the Island’s Eco agenda, moving materials as short a distance as possible.
HJ Bennett’s main recycling plant is at St George’s Down Quarry near Newport. Here specially designed equipment takes the waste roadway materials brought in for recycling and crushes and carefully grades them for various applications.
Today, HJ Bennett recycles 220,000 tons of aggregate annually, much if which would have gone to landfill without this recycling process.
The state of the Island’s roads
With the PFI now in full flood and "Island Roads" slowly resurfacing the carriage ways one by one, HJ Bennett is daily assisting in the background in recyling the plainings.
HJ Bennett’s Eco-Base system allows the old material to be recycled and laid back down as a durable new surface, reducing energy usage and emissions. The Eco-Base binder captures any toxic components and binds them within the overall mix to render an end product that’s completely safe. This means that there is very little waste and no need for expensive recycling treatments or landfill. The result is a new road sub base at a fraction of the cost and a considerably reduced carbon footprint.
Nigel Bennett, Managing Director, had this to say. ‘Way ahead of the rest of the industry we began to develop innovative ideas to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. Today this is what we’re all about, to show how we provide PFIs and utility companies - not only with highly cost-effective solutions - but with a unique and unbeatable environmental answer to road replenishment."