Current Market Issues For The Waste Industry

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The way that the whole issue of "waste" is viewed has changed considerably in recent years under growing pressures from national and local government, construction clients and the public at large. Economic and environmental issues, a drive for safer working conditions and practices and increasing time and cost constraints experienced by the various players in the construction and demolition industries, have also had their influence. Rather than using the single category of "waste", it is becoming common to consider "materials surplus to requirements" as an important stage in the life cycle of materials before they are called "waste". Demolition waste is increasingly being addressed through the careful management of various materials streams.

Recent legislation has increased the cost of waste disposal leading to increased demolition costs. The rise in costs and the ¡^ increased management time required to deal with waste is stimulating new technologies and markets for increasing reuse and recycling and reducing land-filling. The demolition industry has responded by moving away from labour-intensive activities to a variety of machine-intensive activities. The practice and management of demolition and the handling of materials and waste streams have changed considerably in recent years, and will change further [see Appendices A and B]. A large number of i—I different materials and waste streams may arise through these different practices and methods of demolition work, and this will q have an increasing influence on the market for such materials through reuse or recycling.

^ Although the options open to handling the materials streams produced by the demolition industry are numerous, a number of U problems still need to be addressed if the full potential for recycling and reuse is to be achieved. At present the capacity of the ¡D outlets for reuse and recycling is not large enough to deal with the quantities of materials produced. Space and storage of materials for reuse or recycling is at a premium. How materials are removed from demolition sites is also a major issue with q regard to the cost and environmental impact of transport and risk of mixing materials and waste streams. Despite some increase in the demand for demolition materials for reuse or recycling, the markets are still relatively small and highly susceptible to ^ fluctuations in supply and demand. O

cti These issues are crucial when considering how better to "design for deconstruction" since the process of deconstruction is ^ inherently labour intensive. Reuse and recycling will only happen if designers and manufacturers can find ways of constructing ^ buildings that will make it commercially favourable to deconstruct them.

CQ The demolition industry is especially well-placed to encourage the reuse and recycling of materials through its many years of

  • D relevant experience. In particular, it is best-placed to undertake the complex cost/benefit analyses that are needed to demonstrate s
  • 1 the commercial case for reuse rather than recycling, and recycling rather than landfill and the many different options for p segregating and processing materials to maximise their value.

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