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2024-04-05 | New JRC report confirms benefits of metals recycling in the construction sector

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This JRC report called « Techno-economic and environmental assessment of construction and demolition waste management in the European Union », published in Jan 2024, aims to support legislative and non-legislative steps to ensure CDW is managed in an environmentally sound manner and contributes to the circular economy. This report reviews, analyses and reconciles data on CDW generation, composition and management at EU27 level. It also performs an environmental and techno-economic assessment of the most important management technologies through life cycle assessment and life cycle costing, to provide data for further feasibility assessments of preparation for reuse and recycling objectives for individual material fractions.

Results show that metals are today the only materials which are already systematically and profitably recycled or reused at end of life. Such metal reuse and recycling provide significant environmental & GHG benefits by avoiding the production of primary metal.   For other materials, the study showed that recycling and reuse present also environmental benefits, but in a lesser extent. However, profitability is often a barrier to get wider recycling or reuse practices for most of those other materials.

This report demonstrates indirectly the importance to integrate “design for circularity” concept in buildings in order to secure that all the materials and products at end-of-life can be environmentally and economically reused or recycled. Since 40% of the waste of today comes from buildings, it is essential to secure that the building of today does not become the waste of tomorrow ! 

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