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

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Concrete to concrete

Advanced recycling of concrete waste achieves full recovery of materials as high-quality fine and coarse aggregates and raw fraction for new cement.
The application of recycled concrete is not new. However its use is quite heterogeneous in the European map, depending on the availability of raw material and the environmental policies. In the Netherlands the use of recycled concrete started in the 1980’s and possible applications are still growing. Standards and guidelines are available and in day-to-day production of ready mixed concrete 30% of the coarse fraction can be replaced by recycled aggregates for a lot of applications without further notice. Up to a 100% replacement is even possible in consultation with the client. Several pilots with 100% replacement have already been realised. For example a swimming pool in Maastricht (De Geusselt) (Fig. 1) and a bicycle path in Bergeijk (Fig. 2). Both projects lead to a reduced use of primary materials and are excellent examples of urban mining.

Fig. 1: Swimming pool De Geusselt Maastricht

Fig. 2: Bicycle path Bergeijk (NL)

Concrete recycling is a more recent development in France, where the availability of natural aggregates is more widespread. However, as in most European countries, there is a trend to avoid landfilling demolition material and to limit transportation distances for new construction materials. Therefore, all building industry stakeholders decided 5 years ago to join their efforts and to work together, through a national project called Recybeton, in order to push the concrete industry towards circular economy. Lafarge is actively participating in this project, and is proud to have led the first experimental site (in December, 2013), where a parking lot (Fig. 3) has been built with various types of recycled concrete incorporating up to 100% of recycled aggregate (including the sand fraction).
Nevertheless there is always room for improvement. The coarse fraction is useable but with new separation and crushing techniques like ADR (advanced dry recycling) or Smart Crushing a better separation between sand/gravel and cementitious material should be accomplished. By adjusting the concrete mix-design, it is also possible to use the crushed concrete fine fraction (0/4 mm). However, a high recycled sand fraction induces an increase of cement content and unit cost of concrete. Also, a part of the fines, and other fine materials like gypsum and ceramics from deconstruction waste could be incorporated to the cement with the same benefits for the society and the planet.
In this way the HISER program could contribute to a real circular economy for concrete and other materials. As for Lafarge, this should help the group to reach one of its 2020 Sustainability Ambitions, which is to have at least 20 % of its ready-mix concrete production containing recycled materials.

Fig. 3: Chaponost parking lot (Rhône Department, France)
Leo Dekker
François de Larrard

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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