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Sirken turns surplus building materials into valuable commodity

Published 14 Dec 2022 (updated 29 Apr 2024) · 3 min read


Quick information

  • Soon available

At a glance

  • Self-service shop for surplus building materials
  • User-friendly system connects owners and buyers
  • Reduces costs, emissions and waste in construction

Sirken connects owners and buyers of surplus construction materials through a self-service shop, facilitating the reuse of these materials. “We need to view these materials as resources rather than waste. The environment and circular economy depend on it. We do this by placing a value on the surplus goods,” says Ingvar Aune, co-founder and CEO of Sirken.

When it comes to sustainability, the construction industry still has a long way to go. Construction is responsible for 40 per cent of total global CO₂ emissions, and the industry generates almost 37 per cent of total waste in the EU alone.

“Construction has a huge environmental impact, but it also faces obstacles to change. For example, regulations on the reuse of materials are too rigid and outdated, and the industry has no financial incentive to act differently,” says Aune.

Self-service shop for surplus goods

Sirken has developed a self-service shop for surplus goods from the construction industry. The shop enables companies and contractors to sustainably dispose of their unused goods. In turn, other professionals and private individuals can buy those materials at a reduced price.

“We have created an inexpensive, user-friendly system that keeps materials in the value chain, rather than being sent to the landfill or incinerator. Our ultimate goal is to make construction more sustainable in order to mitigate climate change,” says Aune.

The physical shop is comprised of ventilated shipping containers. These are equipped with a security system and access code door, industrial shelving to withstand heavy weight, and a self-service payment solution to reduce administrative costs.

Companies pay a small fee to have a Sirken container placed on a construction site. Owners save the disposal cost and receive a kickback on the sale of their goods. Buyers create a free online account and gain secure access to the container where they fetch and pay for the materials.

Prolonging the life of resources

Sirken cuts costs for both owners and buyers of surplus goods. Contractors will save money on storage, transport and shipping costs associated with unused materials. Buyers will also enjoy significant cost savings. “We offer cheaper building materials than any other competitor. Consumers can get high-quality, unused goods for 40, 50 and sometimes 70 per cent off,” says Aune.

Sirken hands a win to the environment as well. “We prolong the life of the resources used in construction. In Norway alone, 250 000 metric tons of lumber are disposed of annually as waste. In a one-month pilot project, our solution saved 12 metric tons of waste and 7 000 kg of CO₂. Those are promising figures,” says Aune.

Moreover, companies will improve their environmental profile, potentially increasing their competitiveness.

Jumping on the sustainability trend

Construction industry leaders expect sustainability to accelerate as a major trend.

Aune agrees. “The market potential is 30 times greater than the number we can reach,” he says. Then he comments on Sirken’s place in the bigger picture:

“We are solving a small part of a much bigger problem. Surplus goods represent only 10 to 15 per cent of the total waste from construction. Players in the reuse market need to cooperate more for the sake of the planet. We must all get on board the sustainability trend.”

Sirken plans to make its solution commercially available in early 2022. The company has already signed agreements with five large industry players, including Veidekke and Backe.

Sirken received a visit from Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre, who met with 100 green companies in 100 days after taking office in October 2021.

Ingvar Aune

Co-founder and CEO

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Bergssvevegen 60, 7510 SKATVAL, Norway