Making construction waste less harmful to the environment

Waste from construction projects poses a serious problem. It means that the construction industry is France’s most polluting sector. Something has to change. But perhaps these problems could be turned into an opportunity?

Recycling is no longer just an option for the construction industry, it’s a necessity

Construction is the most polluting industry in France, producing more than 42 million tonnes of waste a year according to LE MONITEUR. At the moment only half of waste products are properly reused or recycled, which is far too low a figure. That’s why the government has set a target of 70% of waste being reused or recycled by 2020 in the Energy Transition Law of 17 August 2015. Some of these waste products only have a small impact on the environment, such as wood and even some metals, but others remain highly dangerous and must always be properly processed. Of particular importance are asbestos and certain kinds of paint and solvent.

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What responsibilities do project owners have?

The project owner has a considerable responsibility when it comes to waste from their construction site. Before you demolish any building that has stored, manufactured or distributed dangerous materials, you must conduct an analysis of residual materials. Should a project owner fail to conduct this assessment, they risk a €45,000 fine and 3 months in prison.

 

How should waste be managed?

The first step in proper waste management is prevention. It’s important to try to reuse rubble or parts of buildings that could be used architecturally in other projects. Think about sorting waste by type (electronic, wood, metal) and by recyclability. It’s important to use some kinds of waste in other projects, for example in embankments or road bases. Finally, those waste products that cannot be reused need to be sent to the proper waste disposal sites.

 

Next steps

To improve the reuse and recycling of waste in France, ADEME is co-funding the DEMOCLES project, bringing together those in the recycling field and those working to repurpose waste materials. This project has been created to advise and support the construction sector to better manage construction waste.

Our company CHRONO Flex takes the environment and waste processing seriously when it undertakes on site work. It also offers guaranteed traceability to show that materials are dealt with in accordance with authorised waste disposal processes.

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