Building site waste collection

Every year, France produces more than 40 million tonnes of building site waste. In the Ile-de-France region alone, the building industry (construction, demolition and deconstruction) produces 9.5 million tonnes, and public works waste amounts to 22.5 million tonnes. And while these materials, often buried or incinerated, are still not recycled often enough, European regulations will require at least 70% of these secondary raw materials or energy resources to be recycled by 2020 (2008 Framework Directive). For Paprec, which already treats more than 800,000 tonnes every year on its main sites, construction waste recycling starts with an optimised collection of this mainly inert waste (term used to designate non-biodegradable waste that is not combustible and does not pollute the environment), for which we are going to detail the procedures here.


The majority of construction waste collected by Paprec Group comes from sources produced by major construction companies, that this recycling company has already been working with for a number of years. In Ile-de-France, Paprec possesses about sixty heavy goods vehicles that remove building site waste. This recovered waste is then emptied at Paprec waste treatment centres and treated. The capacity and types of container and skip used for waste collection obviously vary according to the type of waste collected, estimated tonnages and the space available to the customer on its demolition, deconstruction or construction sites. Containers of varying capacities are therefore used, for instance 8 m3, 10 m3, 15 m3 or 30 m3. On the other hand, some site skips are reinforced and can be handled by crane. We then talk about “crane skips”.

At an operational level, rubble skips placed on construction sites (as part of packages or, in some cases, rentals of skip lorries with or without a crane) are ordered by customers and then filled by them during the course of the works. Once the skips are filled, Paprec sends chain-lift lorries (i.e. heavy vehicles with loading surfaces for changing waste containers and gantry mechanisms designed to optimise loading) or its Ampliroll multi-skips (with loading or unloading systems installed on industrial chassis) to recover the materials and transport them to the waste treatment or sorting site.

Two main types of waste mixture are thus collected from these sites :

  • During structural work, Paprec recovers mainly mixtures containing heavy waste, such as clean rubble or mixed rubble.
  • During second-stage works/making good on building sites, Paprec recovers mainly routine industrial waste, comprising, depending on the situation, a collection of various materials (cardboard, plastic and other products). On these occasions, Paprec is likely to recover the packaging in which doors and windows are delivered for installation by builders during the final construction stage.

In addition to this mixed waste, Paprec may also collect unmixed waste, where pre-sorting is done on site. Unlike mixed waste, pre-sorted waste (clean rubble, wood, concrete, etc.) does not pass along the sorting line when it arrives at the treatment centre.

To check that the quality of the materials complies with the contract between the recycling company and its customer, two checks are carried out. The one made initially by the Paprec driver, who goes to site with a collection note (showing his name, the material to be recovered and the volume of the skip) but does not collect any waste container without first inspecting its contents – and the other made by the tipper manager, who will be responsible for declassifying it, or not, once it has been taken to the Paprec waste treatment site.


A symbol of Paprec Recyclage's desire to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, the barge Eckmühl does away with the need for twelve heavy goods vehicles on the roads in Ile-de-France with every round trip it makes and so saves one tonne of CO2. A way of working for the future, efficient and ecological, water-borne transport is used to collect material received and then stored on professional waste treatment sites (set up and managed by Paprec Group) on the banks of the Seine in Paris and the inner suburbs. Attached to construction material distribution stores, as part of a partnership linking the recycling group to a specialist company, these installations make it possible for small public works tradesmen to dispose of their site waste in dedicated units and reduce their travelling distance. Actually, this fulfils two purposes: in a single journey, the tradesman can dump his construction waste and collect materials.

Emptied on Monday mornings, the barge makes numerous micro-voyages during the week, goes back up-river, removes site rubble and other inert waste prepared by Paprec operators using tools specially designed for loading boats, and returns to its home port on Friday evening, before starting out again on the same journey after the weekend. Where construction waste dumps are not located close to water, waste is removed using standard skip lorries.


In certain cases, Paprec recovers construction waste directly from sites, where construction and demolition companies that have collection tools (thanks to skip rental systems in Paris and elsewhere) but no waste treatment centre for construction, demolition or deconstruction waste, come to dump their materials. Materials recovered in this way are the same as those in the main collection and are invoiced at the site entry price for the waste in question, once the quality has been checked. It should be noted that prices vary along with the treatments and outlets for the various products.


Since 1994, Volvo Trucks has been the number-one supplier of lorries to Paprec Group, which is eager to maximise its efficiency (the breakdown rate for Volvo lorries is the lowest in the market) while reducing its environmental impact (95% recyclable, the 40-tonners chosen consume less than 30 litres per 100 km, which, on a weight-for-weight basis, is a sixth of that off an ordinary car).

With a maximum 25-tonne load capacity, heavy goods vehicles belonging to France's leading recycling company (using Tautliner semi-trailers and other vehicles capable of loading all types of Guima standard skip) are becoming more and more common on the roads in France as the group expands to a national scale. With variable power, the most efficient ones (750 hp Volvo FH16s) are given to the group's best drivers, rewarded with Castors d'Or. In the Paprec fleet today, 1000 lorries are fitted with global positioning technology and can therefore easily be identified and diverted to meet any urgent requirement. All the rubble skips and other containers used by Paprec for site management and construction waste collection are also fitted with trackers, even though site waste collection rounds are infinitely less complex than those for lorries responsible for collecting paper/board, since they are often only called upon to go from point A to point B and vice versa.
Discover the different steps of the recycling of construction waste

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