ECT's growth strategy is focused on 'circular economy' and acting locally. ECT re-uses inert soil from construction sites in the Île-de-France region to work with communities and local authorities in projects for sustainable and collaborative land-use developments.
The company has 15 sites in regular operation in the Île-de-France, and handles 15 million tons per year.
The everyday management of these flows of materials raises questions about sustainable urbanism and the 'urban metabolism'; and, above all, about what can be done to improve it
ADEME defines the circular economy as "an economic production system which, at all stages in the life cycle of products, aims to increase the efficiency with which resources are used and to diminish the impact on the environment while promoting the well-being of individuals".
This circular system lays stress on new design techniques, on increasing the service life of products, on the use rather than the possession of goods, on re-use, and on recycling.
ECT's re-use of excavated soil from the sites of the construction & public works sector to carry out development projects fits very well into the 'circular economy' model, for two reasons: Reduced impact, and added value.
Re-using soil to backfill and make safe mines and quarries in the Île-de-France region is another example of this circular use of soil.
ECT proposes to establish sites for the reception and handling of soil across the whole of the Île-de-France region. The objective is to keep the carbon footprint for transport down by having the shortest possible round trips.
'Circular economy' as operated by ECT promotes the creation of positive loops. These create value-added by the systematic re-use of soil.
The concept of urban metabolism means considering cities as consumers of materials and energy, whether produced directly within their own region or indirectly in the form of the materials, goods and services that they import or export.
These flows of matter and energy cross the urban ecosystem in a linear way. Upstream, resources are extracted from nature's stores. Then the various urban activities exploit or transform them. And finally, downstream, they are returned to the ecosystem in a degraded (or even non-degradable) form.
This rejected waste material affects the atmosphere, the water and soil in various ways, and has multiple impacts on ecosystems and more generally on the biosphere.
In this context, ECT's 'circular economy' approach brings a sustainable response to the need to make a closed circuit of urban flows. It is by the creation of closed loops for the re-use of the soil from construction sites, in the form of projects for local developments, that ECT contributes to optimising the 'circularity' of the urban metabolism for soil from construction sites.
In conclusion: Taking into account the challenges of the 'urban metabolism' of towns reinforces our local involvement with communities and local authorities in the Île-de-France region. Our land-use development solutions assist with these challenges by adding value to the sites. For example, the issues of making sites safe, of bringing back nature and of soil fertility, thus improving environmental quality and the quality of life.
And our collaborative approach with the communities and local authorities of the Île-de-France promotes sustainable "co-recycling" of sites.