Growing Volume of C&D Waste Boosts the Recycling Market

Frost & Sullivan: Strong support from the European Union must achieve a recycling target of 70 per cent by 2020.

The growing volume of construction and demolition (C&D) waste has become a significant concern in Europe. The C&D market in the region is governed by regulations regarding waste reduction, recycling and diversion of waste material resources away from landfilling. Therefore, the need to recycle C&D waste has prompted waste management companies to optimise collection systems and thereby, increase recycling volumes.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan “European Construction and Demolition Recycling Services Market” finds that the market earned revenues of U.S. Dollar 18.75 billion in 2013 and expects this to reach 23.85 billion in 2020. An estimated 25.9 per cent rise in the volume of waste till 2020 is intensifying the demand for limiting landfilling. Environmental and land availability concerns apart, the rising prices of landfill are brightening the prospects of market participants that provide sustainable and economically sound solutions for C&D waste management.

“Market development is strongly driven by the Waste Directive (2008/98/EC), wherein C&D waste must achieve a cycling target of 70 per cent by 2020,” said Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environmental Research Analyst Monika Chrusciak. “Market revenues will also get a leg up from the future optimization of collection and recycling technologies.”

Lack of smart management solutions

However, local legislation is not uniformly transposed despite strong European Union support for C&D recycling. Participants are often challenged by the misleading waste categorisation and high recycling level indications. Dissimilar local interpretations lead to high variations in regional market development, which ultimately affect market dynamics and profitability. Furthermore, C&D waste can be difficult and expensive to sort, collect and transport, as the material is highly heterogenous and voluminous. These issues highlight the need for an integrated smart management solution that facilitates material recovery and related business economics.

“Market participants can remedy most of the issues by procuring information on the quality and quantity of available C&D material, and steering its parameters through direct and close cooperation with the customer. The current lack of smart management solutions is affecting the recycled materials’ quality,” noted Chrusciak. “Hence, data regarding the quality and quantity of C&D waste material is crucial for long-term collaborations with final recycling companies.”

Market participants need to have all necessary processes in place as soon as possible, as Europe is expected to experience increased infrastructure development. The region is emerging from a downturn and building companies will be looking to optimise costs and use recycled aggregate as an alternative to costly primary material. These trends, along with greater green building development, bode well for the recycling services market. “The market is anticipated to continue growing as individual European governments, especially in Western Europe, are creating legal frameworks and encouraging the development of C&D recycling services,” observed Chrusciak. Higher investments in these services will aid the optimal processing of recyclable waste and improve safety work standards as well.

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Photo: O. Kürth