Holistic Innovative Solutions for an Efficient Recycling and Recovery of Valuable Raw Materials from Complex Construction and Demolition Waste (HISER)


higher recovery of raw materials from Construction and Demolition Waste
higher recovery of raw materials from Construction and Demolition Waste

Demolition: current practices and innovation

On June 11 a HISER Workshop on demolition took place within the 2015 Annual Convention of the European Demolition Association in Helsinki.

Construction and Demolition Waste (C&DW) is a relatively inert type of waste and represents around 30% of the total waste generation in the EU. When landfill fees are high, there is an incentive encouraging extensive material recovery through a strategy of selective demolition followed by recycling. According to some estimates, with such a strategy, most (around 80%) of the material from End of Life (EOL) construction is recovered as relatively pure mono-material fractions and only 20% ends up as mixed demolition waste that has to be treated in specialized waste treatment facilities. A prerequisite to obtain high quality materials is therefore the aforementioned Selective Demolition which  means that the construction is demolished trying to produce mono-material fractions such as concrete, bricks, gypsum, steel, wood, etc.

In order to increase awareness and involvement of key groups potentially related to HISER’s activities, the workshop titled “Selective demolition: current practices and innovation” has been organized in Helsinki on June 11th 2015 within the annual meeting of the European Demolition Association (EDA). The workshop gave the possibility for HISER participants to exchange ideas on the subject and to collect valuable feedback from the EDA members. As selective demolition per se, does not guarantee the highest value of the recovered materials, it must be combined with advanced recycling technologies to achieve high-value secondary resources from C&DW. Therefore, advanced recycling technologies available within the HISER’s consortium were presented as well during the workshop.
Interest on recycling technology has been raised by some participants. Considering that demolition represents an important stage in the value chain (from EoL construction to recycled materials), they are willing to be informed on future technology development ongoing within HISER.

During the workshop EDA experts expressed concern about three important steps which are currently not well connected and should be improved:
•    Pre-demolition audit (inventory)
•    Waste management reporting
•    Final waste management report

In addition, EDA members suggest that in order to create a market for recycled materials, it is necessary to “stimulate” the consumption of those recycled materials, e.g. glass or insulation materials. A possibility could be to impose minimum contents of recycled material in a construction material product. To improve the market attractiveness of waste management, consensus among HISER and EDA members was expressed about the necessity to shorten the value chain (fewer intermediaries). EDA member also suggested that new legislation about demolition waste management should be created during the development of HISER.

The HISER project aims at formulating the basis for changes in policies and standards, therefore the above issues are going to be taken into account by the HISER members working on  such recommendations.

HISER workshop in Helsinki

See more photos from the HISER workshop in Helsinki

Francesco Di Maio
Technische Universiteit Delft


The project has received funding from the European Union's  Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 642085.


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