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Studies

Resource Efficient Use of Mixed Wastes

Introduction

‘Resource Efficient Use of Mixed Waste’ is a study conducted by BIO by Deloitte in partnership with BRE, ICEDD, VTT, RPS and FCT of NOVA University of Lisbon on behalf of the European Commission, led. The particular focus of the study was on Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW). The study aimed to investigate the current CDW management situation in EU Member States, identifying obstacles to recycling and deficiencies that could lead to non-compliance with EU waste legislation. Good practices in terms of creating conditions for increasing CDW recycling and for improving the quality of recycling and recovery were identified and a set of recommendations to address potential barriers formulated. In parallel, success stories of efficient CDW management were showcased in 6 case studies, illustrating key elements for success, as well as the necessary preconditions. Finally, the credibility of official CDW statistics was assessed, identifying the sources of inaccuracy and proposing measures for improvement. The preliminary findings of the study were discussed during a seminar in Brussels.

Objectives and approach

Background

Construction and demolition waste (CDW) is one of the most significant waste streams in the EU, accounting for over 800 million tonnes per year. It consists of numerous materials, including concrete, bricks, gypsum, wood, glass, metals, plastic, solvents, asbestos and excavated soil, many of which can be recycled. CDW arises from activities such as the construction of buildings and civil infrastructure, total or partial demolition of buildings and civil infrastructure, road construction and maintenance. Different definitions of CDW are applied throughout the EU, which makes cross-country comparisons difficult.

Construction and demolition waste has a high potential for recycling and re-use, since some of its components have a high resource value. In particular, there is a re-use market for aggregates derived from CDW waste in roads, drainage and other construction projects. In view of the importance of this waste stream, the lack of comprehensive information regarding the situation in the Member States (and some uncertainty linked to official CDW statistics), it was appropriate to perform an in-depth analysis of the situation, identifying best practices, as well as the key factors to achieve a sustainable management of CDW and formulating recommendations for action.

Objectives

  1. Analysing the current CDW management situation in the Member States "on the ground", against the background of national (and/or regional, where appropriate) waste management plans and waste prevention programmes, identifying obstacles to recycling and identifying potential deficiencies in CDW management practices in the Member States that could lead to non-compliance with EU waste legislation, in particular the waste hierarchy and the recovery target for CDW established in Article 11 of the Waste Framework Directive.
  2. Performing 6 case studies of entities (regions, municipalities and companies) with a good record as regards management of CDW, explaining why they can be regarded as success stories and highlighting their main key elements that contributed to their success, as well as the necessary preconditions.
  3. Identifying good practices in terms of creating conditions for increasing CDW recycling rates and for improving the quality of recycling and recovery and formulating a set of recommendations to address the deficiencies observed in those Member States (MS) where management of CDW raises some concerns.
  4. Assessing the plausibility of official CDW statistics, identifying the sources of inaccuracy, identifying best practices regarding statistics in Member States or regions and formulating recommendations to ensure that CDW can be effectively traced and that statistics duly reflect the actual waste arisings.

Approach

The work was divided in 5 different interconnected tasks, including:

Task 1: Diagnosis of the situation as regards CDW management in the EU Member States, including the distance to the target defined in Article 11 of the Waste Framework Directive.

Task 2: Development of 6 case studies.

Task 3: Identification of good practices related to creating conditions for a sustainable management of CDW.

Task 4: Assessment of the reliability of CDW statistics, including plausibility checks. Proposals for the improvement of CDW statistics.

Task 5: Preparation and organisation of a seminar.

Deliverables

Final Report

Task 1

Member States factsheets

Task 2

Six case studies

Workshop

On 25 May 2016 a workshop was held in Brussels to discuss the findings of the study and present best practices. The workshop focussed on 6 key topics which were discussed in separate breakout sessions: targets for CDW and backfilling; waste prevention, demolition practices; reuse; markets for recycled products; data and statistics.

Follow the workshop live on:

https://webcast.ec.europa.eu/construction-and-demolition-waste-workshop

Read the background document, the presentations and the minutes.

Useful links

Previous studies

  1. Management of construction and demolition waste in the EU
  2. EU as a Recycling Society - Present recycling levels of Municipal Waste and Construction & Demolition Waste in the EU
  3. Resource efficiency in the building sector

EU framework

  1. The 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP)
  2. Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC)
  3. Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe (COM(2011) 571 final)
  4. Resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector (COM(2014) 445 final)
  5. Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe (COM(2014) 398 final)

European Commission

  1. Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW)
  2. Sustainable buildings
  3. Moving towards a circular economy