Eco-design deconstruction instead of demolition, circular economy, labels, innovation… The stakeholders multiply their actions associated with the construction and demolition waste management (CDWM), aware of the fact that such waste amount to a potential resource of 227 million tons per year.
Minutes of workshop 8 of the Assises.
This is already here with, for example, the "zero waste buildings" constructed using recycled and reused materials. They are designed to be dismantled and to supply reusable materials whenever the building is modified or deconstructed. This trend must be amplified, more communication is needed to raise the awareness of project owners who need to change their requirements, integrate new projects into certification processes, and make sure that they would be guaranteed by insurance companies as this is not the case enough today.
This tools is essential to optimize prevention and recycling. Unfortunately, regulation-based diagnostics are still rare. Only a small percentage of building sites do them - about 10% -and the utilization of the existing diagnostics is insufficient. The players call for a form of advocacy targeting the project owners, and confirm the need for increased training and competence for the professionals who do the diagnostics.
We must foster a true selective deconstruction of buildings and works with a quality-focused sorting process, real material traceability and, last but not least, a reflection process that stretches beyond inert waste alone. Those waste materials do represent the highest resource with 70% recycling potential. It would be a shame not to consider the finishing material resources which is still poorly recycled. Other promising sources comprise: craftsmen certification labels, training, the dissemination of good practice guides as done by the CAPEB (confederation of craftsmen and small building companies), drop-off points available within the premises of material distribution companies. The economic aspects should not be ignored: the GTPA which penalizes landfilling is not approved by all, unlike the incentive CO2 avoidance tax policies.
Numerous CDW materials are already being recycled, especially in the road construction industry. For the share of recycled waste to be increased regulatory deadlocks must be removed as they hinder the implementation of long-term markets for these durable materials. The creation of a quality label for projects carried out using recycled waste could contribute to making these operations more secure and to favour their development. In the building industry, the publication of a guide for the utilisation of waste materials as alternative building materials could be a good instrument, assuming that the requirement levels are not disproportionate compared to those that govern the natural resource they replace.
Communication between stakeholders remains to be improved to foster the circular economy. The development of regional plans that include prevention measures and circular economy could foster the supply-demand matching and raise the awareness of public and private decision makers, without affecting the existing activities and jobs.
There are numerous innovation leads: extension of the building information modelling dynamics to the field of civil engineering and inclusion of the notion of recyclability into these projects, the creation of markets for the small quantities of hard-to-recycle finishing materials, the training of the players to digital and mapping tools, the implementation of exchange platforms, a cartography process showing the drop-off points and facilitating the contact between the users and the producers of materials.
In conclusion the stake holders have started getting organized. Yet these players need more interactions and they must keep innovating to create circular economy loops and overcome the future challenges.