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INNOWO and Saint-Gobain present a report on construction material recovery

In the face of growing global challenges related to climate change, environmental pollution, and ongoing urbanization, Saint-Gobain and INNOWO have developed a detailed report on the recovery of construction materials and the opportunities and challenges associated with it. The document sheds light on the current model of resource consumption and points to future directions for transforming the construction sector.

The construction sector is on the threshold of a major challenge: replacing non-renewable resources in the production process with recovered materials. The report "Recovery of Construction Materials: Opportunities and Challenges," prepared by Saint-Gobain and INNOWO, addresses this issue in detail.

"We are currently living in an incredibly fast-changing world. Fortunately, there is an increasing focus on changes aimed at reducing human impact on the environment," emphasizes Joanna Czynsz-Piechowiak, President of the Saint-Gobain Group in Poland and Ukraine in the report's introduction. "We have already realized that household waste can and should be sorted. However, perhaps not everyone is aware that about 30% of waste in the EU comes from construction and demolition activities – they too should be selectively collected, processed, and reused as raw materials."

The widespread adoption of upcoming changes throughout the industry is a fundamental step towards reducing its negative impact on people and the climate. These actions focus on several key areas aimed at increasing operational efficiency in material recovery and reducing the consumption of new resources.

"The circular economy paradigm must become a new reality. It is time for buildings to be designed for disassembly and the reuse of materials, treating buildings as resource banks ready for easy deconstruction, and utilizing recovered materials," notes Agnieszka Sznyk, President of the Board, INNOWO The Institute of Innovation and Responsible Development, in the report's introduction. "The transformation of the sector is already supported by new regulations, such as the CSRD and EPBD directives, CPR amendment, and national regulations, which will soon impose the obligation to sort construction waste. In the circular transformation, we need the involvement not only of decision-makers but of all stakeholders, including investors, architects, contractors, and manufacturers."

Upcoming regulations

New regulations will require the segregation of construction and demolition waste into at least six main fractions: wood, metals, glass, plastics, gypsum, and mineral waste, including concrete, bricks, ceramic materials, and stones. This detailed segregation is intended to facilitate recycling processes and reuse, which are priorities for reducing the demand for new natural resources and limiting the amount of waste sent to landfills.

The entire process will be facilitated by the implementation of digital passports for construction products, which will help in their easier identification and management of product information, significantly improving their recovery and recycling. The widespread adoption of digital passports will not only increase the efficiency of these processes but also promote clarity regarding the composition and reuse possibilities of construction materials.

Barriers to overcome

To accelerate the recycling process in construction, it is necessary to understand the basic barriers that hinder the development of a circular economy. Legal regulations often lag behind technological progress and changing market realities. The lack of clear regulations regarding the classification of construction waste, standards for reuse, and restrictions on acceptable disposal methods can inhibit innovation and effective waste management. Therefore, it is necessary to develop and implement principles that will promote circular materials and support the financing of necessary research.

The report "Recovery of Construction Materials: Opportunities and Challenges" is the first of its kind on the market and aims to help architects, contractors, or distributors implement the principles of the circular economy in the construction process. The publication highlights best practices from Poland and the European Union regarding the conscious management of waste on construction sites.

We cordially invite you to read the report!


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