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MKM Glasgow setting the standard for sustainability

Published: 9 March 2022 - James Mead

MKM Building Supplies’ Glasgow branch is raising the bar in its approach to sustainability with a host of environmental, recycling and low carbon initiatives that make the innovative branch one of the most sustainable builder’s merchants in the UK.


Ever since the branch first opened its doors, MKM Glasgow has pioneered sustainability practices, with renewable energy sources such as a biomass boiler and photovoltaic (PV) solar panels installed from the outset to reduce its reliance on high carbon omitting technology.

Since then, the merchant has embraced sustainability to lead the way in this important area, with a host of business procedures implemented to ensure it is operating in the most sustainable way possible.

Lee Smith, Director at MKM Glasgow, said: “We are extremely proud of the role we are playing in the supply chain.  Along with providing a first class service to our customers and a one-stop shop for all their building materials needs, MKM’s sustainability ethos is all about ‘doing the right thing’, therefore implementing the most environmentally-conscious practices is of paramount importance to us.

“Tackling carbon is obviously one of the biggest challenges facing our industry, so I’m delighted MKM Glasgow is leading the way in the merchant sector.  We are committed to playing our part in helping the UK meet its ambitious carbon reduction targets by making significant strides towards greater sustainability.”

Along with the biomass and solar technology which, on a good day, can power the branch completely off grid, MKM Glasgow has also invested in a hybrid distribution vehicle and material bailers.  The bailers have helped Lee and his team dramatically reduce waste to landfill and the number, size and frequency of skips needed.

The branch has also worked closely with the local council to improve recycling on-site, with residential bins utilised to separate domestic waste and encourage more recycling. 

In addition, MKM Glasgow has implemented an innovative community scheme where local charity-based projects are supplied with any unsold products such as timber.  Visitors to the branch are also encouraged to do their bit to help be more sustainable, like turning their engines off on arrival to reduce carbon emissions from idling.

One of the major benefits of MKM Glasgow’s approach to enhancing its sustainability credentials is its success in winning construction project tendering processes.

Lee explains: “It’s vital the construction sector supply chain can support customers in the most efficient and sustainable way.  It’s such a critical area that is only going to get more important.

“We’ve made a lot of progress already, but not everything can be achieved overnight.  We are not a business that will rest on its laurels though, there’s plenty more we can do to add to our success to date.

“We are constantly looking at ways we can continue to push the sustainability boundaries and futureproof the business for years to come.  This includes looking at banding machines, the efficiency of our transport fleet like route mapping and optimisation, plus the use of more electric vehicles such as forklifts. 

“We are also working in partnership with a number of our suppliers that provide renewable and sustainable solutions to help support our customers (and staff) with the emergence of newer lower carbon technologies such as Air Source Heat Pumps.  We have already held three days of talks with Joule UK for instance and are looking forward to welcoming a solar PV supplier into branch in the coming weeks for product training.” 

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