An alternative management scheme for plastics from construction & demolition waste

Conference Dates

June 5 – 10, 2022


Construction and Demolition Waste (C&DW) is a priority stream in the circular economy agenda, since it accounts for more than a third of all wastes generated in the European Union. About 1.8 Mt/y of these C&DW are plastics, whose valorisation has to overcome several obstacles: i) Current legislation recycling targets are established in terms of total recycled mass (Iodice et al., 2021), hence can be easier obtained by focusing on heavy fractions, i.e. metals and inert materials; ii) Plastics in buildings are often embedded behind walls, under floors and inside roofs: this complicates their gathering and separation (EC, 2021); iii) C&DW plastics often contain substances of concerns, allowed in the past but restricted by the current legislation (Wagner and Schlummer, 2020): the long lifetime of plastics in buildings - from about 15 years up to, sometimes, 100 years – it is thus a further technical obstacle for recycling; iv) Recycling entails high costs and needs specific policy actions to be implemented, such as landfill ban and the creation of a competitive market for secondary raw material (Pantini and Rigamonti, 2020). These constrains make collection and management schemes complex and variable from country to country. Moreover, the rare utilisation of a selective demolition as alternative to a conventional demolition further worsens the quality of recoverable materials.

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