Construction and Demolition Waste: EuRIC Launched new Branch

The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) has officially launched its construction and demolition branch. Aiming to represent European recyclers’ interests, the new division would evaluate and contribute to implementating the EU’s Green Deal and Industrial Strategy by promoting a circular economy approach, the umbrella organization for the recycling industries in Europe announced in May.

Accounting for ten percent of the total value added in the EU economy, the construction sector would drive economic growth, employing around 25 million people and representing some five million companies, mostly SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), EuRIC underlined. “However, it is also one of the most resource-intensive sectors, generating 30 percent of the EU’s annual waste and 9.4 percent of its total carbon footprint, according to the European Commission. For European recyclers, it is a key sector for achieving the EU’s climate neutrality objective, and it requires a more sustainable use of construction materials, which cannot be achieved without increased recycling.” EuRIC’s construction and demolition branch “is launched at a time where construction and demolition waste as a stream is under intense scrutiny by policy-makers at EU and Member State level”, Emmanuel Katrakis, secretary general of the organization, was quoted. Therefore, the branch would advocate for the full application of circular economy principles in the construction sector by incentivizing the use of circular construction materials and leveling the playing field with extracted raw materials. “In addition, advocacy will be focusing on the setting up of a proper EU regulatory framework that boosts the use of C&D waste in the construction sector and beyond, green procurement, standardization that supports the use of circular materials and products, comprehensive end-of-waste criteria or mandatory recycled content in construction products.”
Huge volumes

In the European Union alone, about 450 to 500 million tons of construction and demolition waste (CDW) are generated annually. According to the European Commission, this quantity accounts for more than a third (35 percent) of all waste generated in the EU and contains a wide variety of materials such as concrete, bricks, wood, glass, metals and plastic, including hazardous materials like asbestos.

As reported by Statista, the recovery rate of CDW in the European Union (EU-27) was 88 percent in 2018. “EU countries were set a recovery target of 70 percent by 2020 under the 2008 Waste Framework Directive, which was defined as including all recycling and other recovery operations such as backfilling. Although most countries have already achieved this target, backfilling or on low-grade recovery accounts for a large share of several EU Member States recovery rates.”,

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 2/2023, Page 32, Photo: O. Kürth)