RANTA: Finnish project improves demolition waste reuse

To promote the circular economy, Finland’s RANTA project identified and tested innovative ways of reusing construction material from public buildings after their demolition. It worked on three test cases to give local authorities practical examples for making procedures more resource efficient and meeting targets set in the EU’s Circular Economy Package and Finland's National Waste Plan.

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Finland’s RANTA project tested innovative ways of reusing construction material from public buildings after their demolition. © RANTA Finland’s RANTA project tested innovative ways of reusing construction material from public buildings after their demolition. © RANTA

" RANTA has provided important results in identifying critical bottlenecks that prevent the circular economy from being put into practice in municipal demolition processes, which are often characterised by low costs and tight schedules. We are therefore happy that the municipalities of Hämeenlinna and Helsinki were kind enough to take part in the project by offering case studies. These municipalities own many buildings and their role in construction, renovation and demolition is very important, so RANTA has had a strong impact on how their processes are implemented. "

Ilkka Aaltio, Managing Director, Green Net Finland

RANTA investigated how cities could apply the circular economy concept more efficiently to managing building waste. It explored barriers to and opportunities for reuse, and identified promising approaches and organisations able to support the process.

The approaches were developed in case studies on the demolition of the Hernematalankatu industrial hall in Helsinki, the Kauriala school in Hämeenlinna, and Hämeenlinna’s Engelinranta soil remediation project.

From cost and speed to resource efficiency

Given their key role in major demolition projects, municipal authorities can do much to advance development of the circular economy in this field. However, demolition work is currently driven primarily by concerns about cost and speed, rather than resource efficiency.

RANTA looked to ascertain the present state of and obstacles to circular economy implementation in demolition work in Helsinki and Hämeenlinna. It sought out views from public authorities and private companies and published the findings in a report. This was disseminated to local communities via coaching events and within an environment ministry working group in which the project participated. To increase waste reuse rates, the working group drew up national building demolition procurement guidelines, including minimum waste recovery requirements.

Understanding waste flows following demolition and the value and reuse potential of different materials was enhanced by obtaining detailed specifications of material and items available for reuse from the case studies. For instance, it was found that Kauriala school contained much useful furniture, tools and machines. RANTA presented the findings to the local authorities and published examples of how to boost recycling and reuse.

New business opportunities

Identification of the main players in the demolition process highlighted new business opportunities between the procurement and demolition phases. The items from Kauriala school would normally have become the responsibility of the demolition company, but the city gave RANTA permission to dispose of them. The team thus valued them and sold them online through a selected auctioneer. The auction was advertised to generate publicity and the municipality used the proceeds to cover some of the demolition costs.

Also, concrete from the building was crushed on site and taken to a nearby private construction site, while soil for filling holes left by the demolition was taken back on the return trip. Calculations showed that this method reduced the carbon footprint of such operations.

In the case of the Hernematalankatu industrial hall, noise from the demolition was largely blocked out by a temporary wall made of waste material.

Furthermore, the case studies provided input for improving management and remediation of soil masses in construction and town planning. The Engelinranta study showed that on-site cleaning of soil and separation of contaminants can cut costs and waste.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “RANTA” is EUR 380 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 266 000 through the “Sustainable growth and jobs” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Low-carbon economy”.


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