North-East Company making strides in circular economy project.

Insight Futures recently conducted interviews with key stakeholders during May and July 2021, to establish views and adoption on the circular economy in the built environment. Its findings reported that 80% of participants said circular economy was part of their organisational strategy, but the majority did not have a circular implementation plan.

According to Scottish Government figures, around four fifths (80%) of Scotland’s carbon footprint comes from all the goods, materials, and services that we produce, use, and often throw out after minimal use. Considering this and the fact that the construction, demolition, and excavation industry is accountable for 59% of waste (as reported in 2018 by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)), it seems imperative that the industry looks at circular economic solutions with urgency.

One local NE company, KR Group (Scotland) Ltd, are ahead of the game, and identified in 2018 the need for a circular implementation plan for their waste. 

Directors, Kenny Robertson, and Nicola Fraser have always ran a lean business since they formed KR Steel in 2003, which generates little waste with any remaining steel sent to be recycled. The business has grown with the addition of sister company KR Solutions in 2014 and KR Cladding in 2017, which now forms the KR Group.

Through the KR Cladding division, it was identified that the only recycling option for composite cladding panel waste was for the steel skins, which can be liquefied and reformed into new steel products. There didn’t appear to be a recycling route for the PIR insulation board within. 

Nicola Fraser commissioned a 3rd party to carry out independent research in 2019 to explore recycling options and potential reuse initiatives. The report identified no recycling options and proposed various reuse suggestions which could be explored further.

The R&D has been driven forward with the recent appointment of a Product Development Manager who explored reuse options. The implementation, to optimise the most circular economic route of the waste, has been planned and KR Group are focused on primarily repurposing the product as a rigid insulation board for use in construction projects between floor, wall, and roof joists. It’s secondary route, for the smaller/offcuts of PIR Board, is for reuse as insulation to retrofit fishing boats refrigeration areas.

Testing to recertify their circular economic product is currently underway whilst the vision is clear on what they want to achieve, “our goal is to create a repurposing facility which will assist any companies who currently either find themselves with this kind of waste, as well as the companies who process this waste, by reducing their scope 3 emissions.” KR Cladding estimate that this project could save 7736 tonnes of CO2eq over the first 5 years of the project.

The ‘Cladding Reuse Project’ is supported as part of Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund. This programme provides funding and support for small and medium sized businesses in Scotland to be more resource efficient and create a more circular economy

If you would like to enquire about KR Group’s repurposed product, please call 01358 788907 or email

Notes to Editors:

The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF). For further information, visit their website or follow @scotgovESIF.