Future uses for building-site waste

What happens then to building-site waste, once it has been washed, sorted and inspected in Paprec factories? What are the final stages in recycling rubble? What does the future hold for inert and hazardous waste? Put into separate cells or tipped onto the ground in factories, it is sometimes ready to be re-incorporated into various production processes. So let us now explore their future outlets and take stock of the ways in which they are re-used.

Rubble, Paprec Group

Re-use of inert waste

These materials, comprising rubble, stone, concrete, cement, breeze blocks, bricks and glass are fully recyclable and amount to 60% of the building site waste collected by Paprec Group. Once the  rubble and similar items in this materials category have been removed and sorted, the sale of this inert building and public works waste is centralised in the group's trading unit, FCR, which will determine its ultimate destination, most often road construction. Once collected, crushed or treated with lime (for excavation spoil) by specialist companies, inert waste will be used as trench-fill or in various base layers for roads (i.e. build-up layers and beds for road surfaces, the two layers that support the upper part of ground-works).

Re-use of routine industrial waste

This type of construction, demolition or renovation waste is neither inert nor hazardous and is fully re-usable, so long as it is not mixed with harmful materials. Among the major families included in this construction and public works waste category, are :

  • Plaster, a material that, when correctly treated by building site waste recycling companies, and so stripped of any possible pollutants, has the desirable quality of being readily recyclable. Treated and dried after use, it recovers the natural qualities of its base material (gypsum) and can then be incorporated into a new product. So, it will later find its way to other building sites and then, ultimately, be thrown into skips again.
  • Ferrous and non-ferrous metals; this construction and public works waste is sent to metals processing companies or industrial steel mills, where it is re-smelted and used again in the manufacture of new products.
  • The paper/board that Paprec Group collects in  waste skipsthen sorts and reclaims it for sending to its paper industry partners, where it is used in the production of new wood pulp.
  • Plastics that can also be washed, ground or regenerated on specialist Paprec sites and sold to plastic recycling companies that re-use of such construction waste, for whom these  new raw materials serve in the manufacture of packaging, PVC pipes, various mouldings, textile fibres, bottles, etc.
  • Class A and class B untreated wood (containing some additives) which, once recycled, can be used in the manufacture of wood pulp or particle boards. This type of building-site waste can also be re-used in the production of energy , to feed a range of industrial or public authority boilers.
  • It should be noted that, unfortunately, a handful of non-hazardous construction and public works waste sub-categories, such as some thermo-plastics and polystyrene cannot be recycled and have to be sent to landfill. After they have passed along the  building-site waste sorting lines, some form of recovery still remains possible, since by capturing the bio-gas produced by the waste decomposing, Paprec Group's non-hazardous waste storage installations feed co-generation motors that inject electricity back into the ERDF network and also create heat, particularly for the on-site treatment of the leachates (liquid residues) produced by building-site waste.

What happens to hazardous waste

These types of waste, found in building-site skips , include, as the name suggests, any type of material harmful to man or the environment. This construction waste can sometimes be recovered but requires special treatment and very specific procedures, as laid down in hazardous waste regulations. Asbestos, mastic, tar, oils, Class C (i.e. painted or varnished) wood and even polluted soil come under this final waste category. On completion of building-site waste sorting operations, waste is buried by some  building-site waste management specialists , such as Paprec Group, in isolated compartments in their storage installations. Although it is possible to recycle asbestos materials, the process is expensive and rarely used. As for paints, they are treated, neutralised, incinerated or stored in special centres, as required by building-site waste management regulations.
Discover the different steps of the recycling of construction waste


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