With construction and demolition waste estimated to be the largest waste stream in the EU, the ‘EU Construction and Demolition Waste Management Protocol’ was published last month to not only help deliver against the Waste Framework Directive but also the EU’s Circular Economy Package.

P5130029 CROPRepresenting one billion tonnes, around one third of all wastes produced by member states, it’s not surprising that the Waste Framework Directive has a target of 70% of all construction and demolition waste being recycled by 2020. 

With this target in mind, the EU’s Protocol looks at best practice measures across five components including waste identification, source segregation and collection, waste logistics and quality management.

The document addresses both hazardous and non-hazardous waste highlighting the need for effective segregation of hazardous wastes and the correct assignment of waste codes to contaminated packaging.  The Protocol also discusses the importance of not mixing hazardous and non-hazardous waste, both at the point of production and in processing, giving the example of how lead-based paint thrown on a pile of bricks would make the whole pile hazardous waste, not just the original paint.

Also addressed is the importance of clear ownership of the waste, something which isn’t always clear on construction sites.  Paul Wood, Hazibag Manager says: “In many instances when speaking to main contractors about the management of hazardous waste we are told that the responsibility is left with the sub-contractors who generate the waste. When speaking to sub-contractors many inform us that the hazardous waste is left with the main contractors who are responsible for the site, raising the question of what actually happens to this waste? The answer is that in too many cases no one is actually taking ownership and hazardous waste such as used aerosols, mastic and resin containers are ending up in the general waste skip”.

Read the full document here.

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