Often singled out, the construction industry does not have an image that is predisposed to environmental protection and the fight against global warming. Maybe it's just because it doesn't have the exemplary building materials at its disposal? This is the opinion of Marc Did, head of Néolitik, who has just set up a "100% recycled, recyclable and low-carbon" concrete production unit in Saint-Léonard (near Fécamp). A unique innovation recognized by the creation prize at the 2023 Normandy Economy Trophies.
Without water and sand, two resources in tension
With his partner Valentine Martin, the entrepreneur wanted "to start by offering an alternative to construction companies with an innovative, high-performance and ecological material that is an alternative to concrete and stone. Our product, called Ecolithe, is made of crushed concrete from deconstruction. We only take the fine fraction to use as sand. By binding, we recover orphan plastics, with no outlet for recycling from local manufacturers. Crushed, they are mixed with the aggregate, heated, kneaded, then pressed in a mould to obtain for the moment 50x50 floor tiles in several colours depending on the deposits. They are therefore environmentally friendly, as we have saved 85% of CO2 and not used water and sand, two of the most stressed resources in the world, resistant to the impact and weight of trucks and light (7 kilos), important for the implementation and health of construction workers. Plus, they're recyclable, because you can bring them back to us. We are committed to taking them back at the price of the raw material and they will be put back into the circuit after processing."
"Limiting the carbon footprint on supply"
Since May 2023, the production line has been running eight hours a day to produce fewer than 100 slabs: "We are in the adjustment phase and four at the moment, including three employees. The goal is to hire two people at the beginning of 2024 to switch to 2x8, then quickly to 3x8 to meet our demands. We will then consider extending our activity in France in the form of operating licenses, to also limit the carbon footprint on the supply and deliveries of construction sites, because our customers are local and national distributors of construction materials and small and large construction companies, such as Bouygues with whom we have a very large site in 2024 in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine). Even if habits are stubborn in this environment, these professionals are all aware that things need to change on environmental issues. Especially since soon, we will also be offering cinder blocks, tiles and curbs," says Marc Dib.