When new buildings are constructed or existing structures are renovated or demolished, mountains of construction wastes are produced. Called as C&D materials, or construction and demotion materials, it contains bulky, heavy materials such as concrete, wood, asphalt, gypsum, metals, bricks, glass, and plastics, among others as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Globally, the trend of C&D materials waste is increasing. And if companies and institutions do not do something about it, the amount could reach nearly double to 2.2 billion tons by the year 2025 according to Transparency Market Research.
Cited in the report by Construction & Demolition Recycling, the prediction is based on the construction wastes generated on a global scale including materials from excavation, roadwork and demolition and complex waste like plastics, metal, ceramic and cardboard. Notably, building materials like wood, shingles, asphalt, concrete, and gypsum make up more than half of the construction waste generate annually.
The ballooning of the global volume of construction waste is not really surprising for some given the infrastructure boom and economic development across countries, especially in the Asia Pacific region and North America where majority of the construction wastes will be produced as predicted.
Meanwhile, even that Europe is not the biggest producer of construction wastes, it still leads in the efforts in terms of construction waste management and technologies. Latin America and Middle East & Africa are estimated to be key regions of the emerging construction waste management market.
Policies by the governments are instrumental in solving this global problem, other than educating the people about practicing source reduction, salvaging, recycling and reusing existing materials, and buying used and recycled materials and products.
But the study by Construction & Demolition Recycling indicated that insufficient resources, lack of standardization, slim profit margins, policy apathy and lack of education hold back the “reduce, reuse and recycle” policies.
While there is no joint solution to curb the construction waste problem globally, the volumes will still end up in landfills. Or if they go to the wrong hands, the construction wastes will be illegally dumped or burned causing pollution. Such will be a bigger problem.