Implementing EU Waste Management

Published 15/9 at 12:37

After discussions with economic actors for several years the EU Commission published the EU Waste Management Protocol last autumn.

The European construction material recycling branch supported and endorsed the Waste Management Protocol. This pointed to appropriate political and other framework conditions for dealing with construction and demolition wastes as the key for a successful circular economy in construction.

Now actions should follow the findings, according to the president of the European Quality Association for Recycling Manfred Wierichs. (EQAR). A high recycling and utilization rate of mineral construction and demolition wastes may be only reached if a high quality of the recycled construction materials will be guaranteed. This requires explorations of contaminants to be carried out before starting demolition, planning in advance the selective demolition and clarifying the possibilities of utilization. From the viewpoint of EQAR the Austrian regulations and in particular the Austrian standard B3151 Demolition of structures as standard demolition method should be considered as a benchmark.

Wierichs criticizes that the decisive acceptance factor for construction material recycling is lacking. This is the more incomprehensible as recycled construction materials are subject to harmonized European construction product standards in conformity with the EU Construction Products Regulation and have to be marked by CE. With the European test standards for environmental compatibility of aggregates about to be passed product status for recycled construction materials may be defined on a European level.

Mineral construction and demolition wastes are valuable resources where quality recycled construction products may be produced which are at least equal to primary construction materials in technological, ecological and also economic respect. That is why the dumping prohibitions and fees taken into consideration in the WMP may be renounced, as they would only raise the costs of construction in Europe, according to Wierichs.

The WMP questions the implementation of the existing legal regulations in the individual EU member states. However, without an accordingly compelling implementation misuse and improper dumping of mineral wastes may not be prevented, according to Wierichs.

EQAR sees a clear need for action in some EU member states. Only by eliminating implementation deficits improving simultaneously the framework conditions for construction material recycling it will be possible to implement the utilization rate of 70% for mineral wastes throughout Europe as required by the EC Waste Framework Directive.

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