Regulations on building site waste

The storage, transport, disposal and recycling of construction and public works waste are subject to a set of rules issued by public bodies. These directives are numerous, subject to change, and always strict. Depending on the type, each variety of waste has to be stored and directed along the disposal channel required by law. Explanations.

Regulatory management of Inert and Non-hazardous waste

The storage and disposal of rubble, concrete, cement and breeze blocks (all inert waste) and routine industrial waste (plaster, paper/board, plastics, metals, wood) works as follows:

  • If a building and public works professional takes on the responsibility for the storage and disposal of inert waste, they have to rent suitable skips, then keep them on a concrete surface and finally dispose of them by sending them to approved disposal sites, such as a recycling factory or registered storage installation for inert waste.
  • Where sorted, non-hazardous material is concerned, recyclable waste must be sent to specialist sites, products for incineration must be sent to certified incinerators and building site waste that does not fall into either of those categories (or which is not sorted) must be taken to sorting centres, recycling centres or non-hazardous-waste storage installations. The sorting of building site waste is not an obligation but it does reduce disposal costs.

For packaging waste, there are two possibilities:

  • If less than 1100 litres per week of packaging waste are generated, materials may be taken away by the local household waste collection service without any recovery obligation.
  • If more than 1100 litres of packaging waste are produced on the site each week, the contractor is obliged to see that they are recovered or make use of them themselves. If the packaging is taken away by a specialist company, a contract must be issued to ensure that the waste is traceable. Where this is not the case, the contractor must be able to provide information on the material's final destination, as required by waste management regulations.

Where the contractor entrusts its inert (or non-hazardous) building and public works waste to a specialist company such as Paprec, waste regulations require that a contract be issued, stating that the company in question is officially responsible for sorting the building-site waste, recovering it or directing it to another approved channel.

Regulatory management of hazardous waste

Regulations on hazardous waste – waste containing materials that present a risk to man and/or the environment – are particularly strict and detailed.  These potentially harmful products, which become hazardous due to capillary action, are divided into several distinct classes and duly packaged and labelled according to the nature of the hazard.
Among this type of waste are:

  • Explosive waste.
  • Oxidants, which initiate the combustion of combustible material.
  • Inflammable building-site waste.
  • Irritant waste, likely to cause inflammation of the skin or mucosa.
  • So-called "noxious" waste presenting a risk through ingestion, inhalation or penetration of the skin.
  • Toxic construction waste that can cause very serious risks, even death.
  • Carcinogenic waste that can cause or aggravate cancer.
  • Corrosive construction waste that destroys living tissue.
  • Infectious waste containing micro-organisms or toxins likely to result in illness in people or other living organisms.
  • Waste toxic to the reproductive organs, which through inhalation, ingestion or penetration of the dermis, can endanger reproductive functions.
  • Mutagenic waste that can result in hereditary genetic defects.
  • Demolition and construction site waste containing substances that, on contact with water, air or a given physical/chemical element, release toxic gases.
  • Sensitising waste that makes prolonged exposure to a given substance harmful.
  • Eco-toxic waste that presents short or long-term risks to the environment.
  • Public works and construction site waste containing substances that, at the moment of their disposal, is shown to be capable of generating another of the harmful materials listed above.

On construction sites, final waste comprises mainly packaging, soiled by contact with toxic products, glues, treatment products, asbestos, mastic, tar, various oils and painted or varnished wood. It must be identified and then stored in separate, sealed waste containers, to prevent any chemical reactions. Only companies subject to environmentally sensitive installation classification and accredited will be able, following the issuing of a by-law, to carry out the treatment of this type of building-site waste. But the waste, once collected, must still be transported in accordance with current waste regulations.

Transporting hazardous waste

The “ADR” is the European convention on the international transport of hazardous waste by road. The purpose of these constantly evolving regulations is to classify and list hazardous materials, supervise dispatch and packing procedures, establish a directory of harmful waste, and define the various measures relating to the loading, transport, unloading and handling of these materials, divided into thirteen classes (explosive materials and objects, gases, inflammable liquids, inflammable solids, spontaneously combustible materials, materials releasing inflammable gases on contact with water, oxidising materials, organic peroxides, toxic materials, infectious materials, radioactive, materials, corrosive materials and miscellaneous hazardous materials and objects).
To remove this waste from building sites to their disposal points safely, the ADR requires companies transporting them to take a number of precautions, such as:

  • Determining the class of hazard presented by the product being transported and an indication of its nature – as well as the risks involved – on special signs attached to vehicles.
  • The use of approved packing and the systematic labelling and marking of waste/liquid containers transported (in authorised vehicles), as required by the official classification.
  • The installation of various items of safety equipment on vehicles intended to transport hazardous construction and public works waste (chocks, warning signs, extinguishers, torches and harnesses)
  • The possession of various documents stating the ADR directives, safety instructions and the dispatcher's declaration of responsibility.
  • Mandatory accreditation of the drivers trained in the transporting of such materials.
  • The chocking and tying down of loads as required by regulations.

Discover the different steps of the recycling of construction waste

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