ArticlePDF Available

Construction waste disposal practices: The recycling and recovery of waste

Authors:
  • National Institute for Research and Development in Constructions, Urbanism and Sustainable Spatial Development "URBAN-INCERC"

Abstract and Figures

The rate of recycling and recovery of construction and demolition waste for the year 2020 is set at 70%. Currently in Romania, the waste recovery level is far below the set value, the collected waste is mostly disposed of by storage in landfills, without any other recovery or reuse. This paper presents practices in recycling of waste obtained from the construction of new buildings and demolition of existing buildings, with the potential of recovering large amounts of construction waste as filling material for road infrastructure or for heavy loaded industrial floors as well as possible other applications for using construction waste to substitute natural resources in concrete composition, obtaining material embedding waste with low energy consumption. The presented solutions might lead to an important increase of the recycling and recovery percentages, contributing to the fulfilment of the targeted and recycling, recovery and reuse rate. The viability of the possible applications is demonstrated with practical examples.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Construction waste disposal practices:
the recycling and recovery of waste
A. Puskás1, O. Corbu1, H. Szilágyi2 & L. M. Moga3
1Department of Structures,
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2National Institute of Research and Development URBAN-INCERC,
Cluj-Napoca Branch, Romania
3Department of Buildings and Management,
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Abstract
The rate of recycling and recovery of construction and demolition waste for the
year 2020 is set at 70%. Currently in Romania, the waste recovery level is far
below the set value, the collected waste is mostly disposed of by storage in
landfills, without any other recovery or reuse. This paper presents practices
in recycling of waste obtained from the construction of new buildings and
demolition of existing buildings, with the potential of recovering large amounts of
construction waste as filling material for road infrastructure or for heavy loaded
industrial floors as well as possible other applications for using construction waste
to substitute natural resources in concrete composition, obtaining material
embedding waste with low energy consumption. The presented solutions might
lead to an important increase of the recycling and recovery percentages,
contributing to the fulfilment of the targeted and recycling, recovery and reuse
rate. The viability of the possible applications is demonstrated with practical
examples.
Keywords: construction waste, road infrastructure, recycling, recovery and
reuse, natural resource substitution.
1 Introduction
The built environment in which we live has a substantial impact on the natural
environment. The construction industry represents a major energy consumer
domain, with a value of about 40% from the total energy consumption at EU level,
WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 191,
www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)
© 2014 WIT Press
doi:10.2495/SC141102
The Sustainable City IX, Vol. 2 1313
generating 30% of the total CO2 emissions [1]. The same source highlights the fact
that the building sector shows an increasing trend over the past years [1]. At the
same time, the construction sector is one of the pillars of economic development,
accounting for 10% of the gross national product in developed countries and
20–30% in developing ones [2]. In 2012 the construction sector generated 8.6%
of Romania’s gross domestic product [3], not including the results of the building
materials industry, e.g. cement production. At the same time due to the large
number of employees in the construction sector it also has a substantial social
impact when it upholds tens of millions of jobs. The quality of the built
environment has a considerable impact on energy and material resources,
implicitly being a decisive factor that affects inhabitants’ health, comfort and
productivity.
The construction industry demands approximately 3–4 tonnes of material per
capita every year and generates over 1 tonne of waste per capita [4]. The national
waste management policy should be in line with the goals of the European policy
in order to prevent waste generation and should aim to reduce resource
consumption and practical application of the waste hierarchy. The Frame Directive
2008/98/EC on waste, transposed into national legislation by Law No. 211/2011,
sets up the basic principles of waste management: no hazardous effects on people
and environment, no ill-effects for water, air, soil, plants or animals, no
disturbances by noise or smells and with no negative impact on the landscape and
special interest areas. These principles are to be applied in their hierarchical
priority: prevention (reduction), preparation for reuse, recycling and other
recovery operations [5, 6].
The rate of recycling and recovery of construction and demolition waste
(recycling and other material recovery, including waste disposal on landfills using
non-hazardous waste to substitute other materials) for the year 2020 was set at
70% [7]. By definition, construction and demolition waste derive from activities
like the construction of buildings and infrastructures, total or partial demolition of
buildings or infrastructures, road construction and maintenance.
The data made available by the Ministry of Environment [8] show that even if
the recovery of waste from construction and demolition has increased in recent
years (Figure 1), it has been made by landfill, almost the entire quantity of waste
being disposed of by storage with no other real recovery.
Most of the waste management practices adopted in the past were oriented to
short-term solutions, without taking into account the long-term effects on the
environment. Therefore, palpable actions should be taken to apply the best
available technologies for reducing, recovering and reusing waste. The first step
in this manner is to develop the relevant code/norm provisions in order to allow
extensive reuse of construction and demolition waste and/or to develop new
materials from waste, usable at a similar rate to the existing generated waste
volumes, which can ensure the possibility of further re-use and which is able to
ensure the desired continuity for the life cycle of the construction materials,
especially of those obtained from waste (Figure 2).
WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 191,
www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)
© 2014 WIT Press
1314 The Sustainable City IX, Vol. 2
Figure 1: The situation of the construction and demolition waste (thousand
tons) in Romania [8].
Figure 2: Desired life cycle of construction materials.
2 Construction and demolition waste management practices
In the European Union annually about 850 million tons of construction and
demolition waste is generated, which represents 31% of the total waste generated
in the EU [2]. In the composition of construction and demolition waste there are
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
TotalC&Dwaste
collected
Recovered
WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 191,
www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)
© 2014 WIT Press
The Sustainable City IX, Vol. 2 1315
materials like concrete, bricks, wood, glass, metals, plastic, solvents, asbestos and
excavated soil, many of them being recycled by various processes.
According to the European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and
Production (Eionet) [2], from the entire construction and demolition waste, the
concrete, bricks, tiles and ceramics wastes amount to approx. 78% (Figure 3).
Figure 3: The weight of various types of materials in construction and
demolition waste [2].
The same source concludes that this type of waste can be a source for recycling
and reuse in the construction industry, being established as a priority management
direction by the EU [2]. Due to the very large quantities of construction and
demolition waste, they occupy important storage areas in landfills. Moreover, if
they are not separated at source they might contain traces of hazardous substances
(Figure 4).
Figure 4: Demolition wastes as landfill – with potential for recovery.
The potential resource for recovery of construction and demolition waste
includes the large number of deteriorated or abandoned buildings, most of them
built in a previous period, whose life stage approaches the demolition phase, the
existing waste having resulted from already performed demolition works, which
is temporarily stored or abandoned, and also high quality waste resulting from
on-site construction activity or other redundant materials, with quality below the
imposed standards values.
WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 191,
www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)
© 2014 WIT Press
1316 The Sustainable City IX, Vol. 2
According to the European Aggregates Association (UEPG), in 2009 the
European aggregates market totalled approx. 2.9 billion tons, dropping by 17.1%
against 2008 levels (extracted and processed in about 23,000 facilities), out of
which the secondary and recycled aggregates amount to as low as 7% [9]. For the
next years the forecasts indicate an increase of the aggregates market to 4 billion
tons per year, therefore it is imperative to enhance mineral waste recycling degree
with a view to achieving effective aggregates, and to use mineral waste to replace
non-renewable resources.
The realisation of concrete using recycled aggregates might present an
important deviation with regard to the one realised using natural aggregates,
therefore further research is necessary in the field in order to use mineral waste as
aggregate in concrete composition.
3 Demolition waste for heavy loaded floor infrastructure
3.1 Presentation of the building to demolish
Abandoned industrial areas became of high interest for new industrial
developments. These areas often include structural skeletons as a challenge to
complete, but due to their advanced deterioration they represent only potential
waste (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Structural skeletons in industrial areas in advanced deterioration.
When existing buildings are condemned to give space for new ones, their waste
potential can be salvaged locally (Figure 6) mainly as filling material. Due to
further development plans of the client, to the low quality and variability of the
filling on the existing land, to the low bearing capacity of the soil as well as to
the existence of underground foundations in order to level and to improve the
existing area, a significant quantity of filling material becomes necessary (Figure
6). The three storey reinforced concrete frame building with masonry fill-in walls
(Figure 7) became unnecessary for the client, also disturbing the path of the
proposed new building. It has been used for decades as a social building, deserving
the plant activity, being renovated from time to time to ensure the minimum comfort
for employees. Therefore it presented not only limited possibilities for material
WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 191,
www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)
© 2014 WIT Press
The Sustainable City IX, Vol. 2 1317
retrieval, but important quantities of hazardous waste. Due to the environmental
commitment of the client, demolition of the building with waste separation was
chosen, also targeting the maximum reuse of the generated waste.
Figure 6: Structural skeletons in industrial areas in advanced deterioration.
Figure 7: Multi-storey building to demolish.
3.2 Demolition and reuse of the waste
The challenge to complete is to comply with the requirements of the client in order
to maximise waste reuse. Priority in the works has been to remove and collect all
the hazardous waste (like roof insulation, mechanical equipment, etc.) according
to the specific waste management norms, representing only a minor percentage of
the total produced waste. All architectural materials have been collected as waste,
while all the PVC doors and windows have been retrieved for further incorporation
in other buildings, with attention to the labour quality. According to the labour
statistics during the retrieval of the PVC doors and windows, the labour cost is
increased by circa 15% with regard to the usual demolition techniques, caused by
high attention to the retrieved material handling and protection. Bricks from the
masonry walls have been recovered, as well as all the metallic parts including
the reinforcing bars of the structures.
The structure has been demolished using special equipment (Figure 8) and then
crushed locally (Figure 9). Difficulties appear with the separation of the structural
concrete of the rendering and masonry, the resulted filling material presenting a
significant percentage of impurities (Figure 10).
WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 191,
www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)
© 2014 WIT Press
1318 The Sustainable City IX, Vol. 2
The filling material obtained by crushing the structural waste had to be sorted
after the crushing but prior to using it for the heavy loaded floor infrastructure,
involving extra labour and cost. All the complication could be avoided with an
appropriate demolition technological process and care for the size of the recycled
aggregates. In the case shown, due to exaggeratedly large sizes of the
recycled aggregates interlard of the filling bed has been almost impossible to
obtain.
Figure 8: Demolition equipment on site.
Figure 9: Crushing of the structural concrete locally.
Figure 10: Filling material with impurities obtained after crushing.
WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 191,
www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)
© 2014 WIT Press
The Sustainable City IX, Vol. 2 1319
The cost of obtaining the crushed recycled aggregates is comparable with the
price of the ballast if the optimum technological process is established in order to
obtain recycled aggregates reused locally. When the recycled aggregates do not
contain impurities as a result of the appropriate technological process and the
recycled aggregates’ size is optimal, the cost of the recycled aggregates is justified
to lay between the cost of ballast and of the crushed stone.
In order to replace the ballast and the stabilised ballast layer, the complete
filling has been done using recycled aggregates (Figure 11). Due to the size
deviations of the recycled aggregates, the compaction phase takes longer
compared to the ballast or crushed stone. In the compaction phase, if the recycled
aggregates have been properly splashed, the dust and small parts of the recycled
aggregates act like a binder, creating an almost compact layer. Results obtained
for the deformation modulus of the industrial floor substructure have been
surprisingly good, showing more than 10% higher values than in the case of using
natural aggregates.
Figure 11: Filling with recycled aggregates.
4 Conclusions
Using recycled aggregates locally could represent an adequate solution for roads
or heavy loaded industrial floor substructures, comparable with the natural
aggregates and also in the cost and deformation modulus obtained, also solving
the problem of significant quantities of construction and demolition waste. Lack
of code provisions for reusing aggregates is still raising doubts with regard to the
rightness of the solutions. Solving the problem of construction and demolition
waste is the responsibility of all the parties involved in the construction industry.
WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 191,
www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)
© 2014 WIT Press
1320 The Sustainable City IX, Vol. 2
References
[1] Eurostat, http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/
[2] European Environment Information and Observation Network,
http://www.eionet.europa.eu/
[3] National Institute of Statistics, http://www.insse.ro/cms/en
[4] D. Leopold, M. Goga, R. Meissner , Ghid privind gestionarea deşeurilor din
construcţii şi demolări, Sibiu, Casa de Presă şi Editură Tribuna, 2011
[5] Directive 2008/98/EC on waste, http://ec.europa.eu
[6] National Law No. 211/2011 on waste
[7] National Agency for Environmental Protection, http://www.anpm.ro/
[8] Ministry of Environment and Forests, http://mmediu.ro
[9] European Aggregates Association – UEPG, http://www.uepg.eu/
WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 191,
www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)
© 2014 WIT Press
The Sustainable City IX, Vol. 2 1321
... Незважаючи на доведені у більшості науково -теоретичних дослідженнях, та практичним досвідом багатьох зарубіжних країн, переваги залучення відходів будівництва у повторний господарський обіг [7,10,11], рівень їх використання, особливо в Україні, залишається катастрофічно мінімальним. Однією з причин такого стану проблеми, є недостатність та СЕКЦІЯ XXIX. ...
... В світовій практиці здебільшого, застосовуються два основних принципи організації переробки важких габаритних будівельних відходів: переробка локально на місці утворення; переробка на підприємствах -переробника (спеціальних комплексах) [11]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Актуальність проблеми управління відходами будівництва, розглядається в межах Національної стратегії управління відходами в Україні до 2030 року, якою передбачено впровадження заходів та принципів поводження з відходами (в т.ч. будівництва і зносу), з урахуванням європейських підходів з питань управління відходами. Статтю присвячено аналізу проблеми управління потоками відходів будівництва та зносу, в контексті обґрунтування необхідності класифікації відходів будівництва з одночасним узгодженням методів та технологій їх переробки, спрямованих на максимальне залучення відходів будівництва до повторного господарського обігу.
... The rate of recycling and recovery of construction and demolition waste for the year 2020 is set at 70%. [18; 24-25]. The waste recovery level in our country the collected waste is mostly disposed of by storage in landfills, without any other recovery or reuse [24]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The common values of a circular economy are concentrated in decoupling economic growth from resource consumption; resource efficiency; waste management; sharing; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; lifecycle assessments and closing loops. With the increasing cost of natural resources as a real EU scenario, industries will significantly benefit from shifting towards a more circular approach. The aim of this paper is to analyses the waste management actions, especially for construction and demolition sector, in Romania in the EU-28 context by applying statistical methods and neural network modelling to find the best macroeconomic predictor for recovery rate of construction and demolition waste for period 2010-2020.
... Макулатура в сполученні з органічними і неорганічними складниками використовується у виробництві різноманітних плит, теплоізоляційних панелей на основі перліту, порошкоподібного твердого, газоподібного палива, етанолу, азотного добрива з додаванням калію і кальцію. Пластмасапереробляється, як покрівельна панель, заповнювач, штучний ґрунт і т. п. (Puskás, Corbu, Szilágyi, & Moga, 2014). ...
... In the EU, construction industry utilizes 40% of the total energy consumption. Furthermore, it generates 30% of the total CO2 emission [2]. Astoundingly, it has been estimated that up to 10% of the construction materials become construction wastes. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The built environment consumes a lot of energy and material. A huge demand of about 40 billion tonnes of aggregates is demanded for construction purpose. The cost of material accounts for more than 60% of the total project cost. However, 10% of construction material end up as demolition wastes yearly. Aggregate is a beneficial building component in construction. There is much need to develop ways to ensure it is utilized properly as construction and demolition waste contribute a large percent to landfills. This review of literature examined the generation of construction and demolition waste generated in developed countries, waste characterization, and utilization in pavement construction. Additionally, environmental, economic and social benefits of the reuse of this waste was espoused. The result of the review revealed that The initial construction material quality, scale of the project, contract and construction mode used affect the amount and quality of CDW. CDW are bulky and not suitable for composting and incineration. Ultimately, the utilization of this waste would reduce the amount of raw material used in construction leading to conservation. Also, there would be reduction in the energy cost associated with mining (quarrying), extraction and transportation of natural aggregates in track with the conservation of natural resources and the construction of cost-effective pavements.
... In the EU, construction industry utilizes 40% of the total energy consumption. Furthermore, it generates 30% of the total CO2 emission [2]. Astoundingly, it has been estimated that up to 10% of the construction materials become construction wastes. ...
Article
Full-text available
The built environment consumes a lot of energy and material. A huge demand of about 40 billion tonnes of aggregates is demanded for construction purpose. The cost of material accounts for more than 60% of the total project cost. However, 10% of construction material end up as demolition wastes yearly. Aggregate is a beneficial building component in construction. There is much need to develop ways to ensure it is utilized properly as construction and demolition waste contribute a large percent to landfills. This review of literature examined the generation of construction and demolition waste generated in developed countries, waste characterization, and utilization in pavement construction. Additionally, environmental, economic and social benefits of the reuse of this waste was espoused. The result of the review revealed that The initial construction material quality, scale of the project, contract and construction mode used affect the amount and quality of CDW. CDW are bulky and not suitable for composting and incineration. Ultimately, the utilization of this waste would reduce the amount of raw material used in construction leading to conservation. Also, there would be reduction in the energy cost associated with mining (quarrying), extraction and transportation of natural aggregates in track with the conservation of natural resources and the construction of cost-effective pavements.
Article
Full-text available
The increase in construction projects with rising construction demolition waste (CDW) challenges is alarming, and it poses a significant threat to sustainable urban development. The challenge of CDW management (CDWM) is noteworthy with varied consequences on social, economic, environmental, and physical development perspectives. Although there has been research from different perspectives on CDWM for over 40 years, there is a limited scientometric review research in these areas to date. This study, therefore, conducts a global scientometric analysis of CDWM articles to understand its sustainable development research approach for further studies. Article titles, keywords, and abstract search methods were used to extract related articles from the year 2000 to 2021. A total of 4374 articles retrieved from the Web of Science Core Collection were analysed using CiteSpace software for scientometric analysis. The result revealed active research on CDWM from influential researchers, research institutes, institutions, reputable journals, and countries. The policy recommendations and frameworks adopted in the past have focused more on reducing, recycling and reuse (3R), and they adopt these strategies and others as single strategies for improving CDWM. These strategies are limited in integrating sustainable development strategies such as the circular economy and bio-dynamic. This study concludes that there is a need for a comprehensive research approach that incorporates the economic, social, and physical implications of CDWM to maximise the value of CDW for sustainable development. It presents a comprehensive scientometric analysis of the CDWM, adds to the existing knowledge of CDWM sustainability approach, and provides insights for future research direction relevant for the academics, professionals, and government agencies in CDWM projects.
Chapter
This chapter explores key aspects of integrated project design using the extreme collaboration methodology, which enables the construction of BIM models that integrate architecture, structures, and MEP, using a “war room” or “information room” (i-room) where various project specialists interact in real time. To achieve the highest degree of integration within a project, the BIM model is then sent to a robotic arm that through additive manufacturing techniques, prints concrete elements previously designed in the i-room—in short, total machine–machine integration (BIM-robot).KeywordsBIM-robotRobotic armConcrete elementsTotal machine–machine integration
Chapter
Full-text available
The aim of the present investigation is to determine the suitability of gypsum mortars with mineral additions of ladle furnace slags (LFS) for use in the manufacture of prefabricated blocks. Different dosages of gypsum mortars are designed, and the corresponding tests for their characterization are performed, with the objective of determining their properties, in both the fresh and the hardened state, in accordance with applicable standards. A suitable dosage is then chosen, bearing in mind the optimization criterion on the use of waste in gypsum mixtures, seeking a balance between the quantity of slag that is used and the quality of its properties. Completing the study, a series of complementary tests are performed related to its behaviour in the presence of heat, fire, and both thermal and acoustic transmission. The results showed that the gypsum mortar designs presented similar properties to the conventional mortars and can be approved for use in construction, either as gypsum mortars or as raw material for the manufacture of prefabricated blocks, in compliance with the requirements established in current European standards.KeywordsLadle furnace slags (LFS)Prefabricated blocksGypsum mortar
Article
Full-text available
В роботі подальшого розвитку набуває системний підхід з визначення взаємозв’язку між розвитком інноваційного підприємництва та позиціями країни в глобальній інноваційній системі. Критичний аналіз змісту публікацій вчених з проблем розвитку інноваційного підприємництва виявив пріоритетність досліджень на сучасному етапі. Аналіз показників інноваційної діяльності України в період 2013-2019 рр. показав скорочення кількості інноваційно активних підприємств, а починаючи з 2017 р. збільшення загального обсягу витрат на інновації, кількості упроваджених у виробництво нових технологічних процесів, обсягів реалізованої інноваційної продукції. Позитивні зрушення в розвитку інноваційного підприємництва країни забезпечили покращення її місця в Глобальному індексі інновацій (з 71 місця до 45). Для забезпечення подальшого інноваційного розвитку України рекомендовано створення ефективного механізму активізації науково-технічного потенціалу і забезпечення можливості її інноваційного саморозвитку.
Article
Full-text available
Sustainable treatments of construction and demolition (C&D) wastes have become an increasingly urgent social, environmental, and economic issue worldwide. Based on a filter of 370 articles related to C&D waste management, this review-based study adopted a science mapping approach to evaluating the recent decade’s C&D waste management research. Through a three-step workflow consisting of bibliometric literature search, scientometric analysis, and qualitative discussion, this study identified the most influential journals, scholars, articles, and countries that have been active and influential in the C&D waste management research since 2009. Keyword analysis revealed the emerging research topics, such as BIM, prefabricated construction, Big Data, and Circular Economy. The follow-up discussion summarized the mainstream research areas (e.g., qualification of waste generation), discussed research gaps (e.g., integration of BIM and Big Data into C&D waste management), and proposed the framework for near-future research, such as a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of C&D waste diversion, human factors, and design and planning for waste diversion. By providing the big picture of the latest research in C&D waste management since 2009, the paper serves as a multi-disciplinary guide for practitioners and researchers to link current research areas into future trends.
Ghid privind gestionarea deşeurilor din construcţii şi demolări
  • D Leopold
  • M Goga
  • R Meissner
D. Leopold, M. Goga, R. Meissner, Ghid privind gestionarea deşeurilor din construcţii şi demolări, Sibiu, Casa de Presă şi Editură Tribuna, 2011