Align joint venture, HS2’s construction partner for the Chilterns Tunnels and Colne Valley Viaduct, has taken an innovative step to reduce the use of single use plastic on its construction sites.

Align analysed their purchasing data, which showed that they were using over 100,000 pairs of disposable blue plastic overshoes in indoor areas at their construction sites every month. Neil Hancox, Align’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing Director spotted the data trend – and collaborated with the company’s family-run supplier of construction consumables to come up with an innovative and more environmentally friendly solution. And in a matter of weeks, Crawley-based OnSite Support Ltd returned with a prototype shoe made from recycled Taslan.

Each pair of the newly designed overshoes contains recycled material from six plastic bottles. The product is also fully washable and has an anti-slip sole to offer better grip on slippery surfaces.

The new shoes, which have been developed in three different sizes to meet the needs of male and female workers, are now in use across Align’s HS2 construction sites. Within the first month, the shoe covers had proven effective in reducing littering as well as contributing to Align’s target to ensure that 70% of plastic is recycled or reused by the end of the project.